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December 27, 2011

by Sharon Harvey, Esquire

Recently, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its decision In Erie Ins. Exch. v. Baker, 972 A.2d 507 (2009) which upheld the validity of the "household exclusion" contained in the Erie Insurance policy issued to Gene Baker. In a close decision (4-3) the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the validity of Erie Insurance’s household exclusion which stated: "This insurance does not apply to... "damages sustained by anyone we protect while occupying or being struck by a motor vehicle owned by you or a relative, but not insured for Uninsured or Underinsured Motorists Coverage under this policy.".

December 27, 2011

By: Lisa Cauley, Esquire

On June, 21, 2010, the Supreme Court addressed an issue important to Pennsylvania business owners and operators of recreational programs and facilities: the validity liability waiver and release forms. In Chepkevich v. Hidden Valley Resort, L.P., 2010 Pa. LEXIS 1311 (2010), reversing the decision of the Superior Court, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found the release form signed by the plaintiff, a patron of the defendant ski resort, was valid and that the patron had effectively waived her right to sue the resort. The Court found that the terms of the release explicitly encompassed the type of risk the plaintiff engaged in by the plaintiff when she was injured on the chair lift, and also encompassed the alleged negligence of the chair lift operator.

December 27, 2011

By: Angela B. Kosar, Esquire

December 17, 2010 marked the arrival of the long-awaited answer to whether the Federal Estate, Gift and Generation Skipping Transfer Tax thresholds would revert back to those set forth in 2001, prior to the changes enacted by then President George W. Bush. On that date, President Obama signed into law the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 (referred to as TRA 2010). While to most taxpayers this act is best known for its reduction of federal payroll taxes that made everyone’s paychecks a little bigger, it also had some significant and beneficial changes to the Federal Estate, Gift and Generation Skipping Transfer taxes already in place.

December 27, 2011

By Sharon Harvey, Esquire

In Pennsylvania the Courts have interpreted the terms of the Equal Credit Opportunity Credit Act (“ECOA”) particularly the provisions of Regulation B, have held that a bank may not discriminate against creditors by virtue of their marital status.  Under ECOA, a bank may not have a blanket policy that married individuals must both sign onto loan agreements, particularly where the married individuals do not present themselves as joint applicants.  Generally, where the credit of one individual is sufficient to qualify for the loan approval, a bank may not require the spouse of that individual to sign the loan.  Only where the bank would not have approved the loan, but for the signature of the spouse or another applicant, is the bank permitted to require the additional signature of the spouse.

December 27, 2011

By: Michael S. Mikulski, Esquire

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently decided the case of Luchejko v. City of Hoboken. This case significantly limits the potential liability of condominium associations and property managers for removing snow and ice from public sidewalks.

Brief Summary – there is no sidewalk liability for a condominium complex for failure to remove snow and/or ice as a condominium complex is determined to be residential, and therefore residential immunities apply.