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Pennsylvania Supreme Court: Intentions Ambiguous in Shooting During Fistfight

By Patrick T. Casey, Esquire

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently issued an opinion on an insurer’s duty to defend in the case of Erie Insurance Exchange v. Tracy L. Moore, Harold E. McCutcheon, III, individually and as administrators of the Estate of Harold Eugene McCutcheon, Jr. and Richard A. Carly, No. 20 WAP 2018, 2020 WL 1932642 (Pa. April 22, 2020).  The court found that there was a duty to defend an insured where the acts complained of by the plaintiff were deemed potentially unintended, despite the insured’s several prior and subsequent acts of intentional violence.

The facts of the case arose from the murder of Terry McCutcheon by her ex-husband Harold E. McCutcheon, Jr. and his subsequent suicide.  Prior to these events, McCutcheon had left a note to his adult children explaining his intention to murder his ex-wife and commit suicide.  In accordance with his stated plan, McCutcheon intentionally shot and killed his ex-wife at her home.  Before he could shoot himself, however, he was interrupted by the arrival of his ex-wife’s current boyfriend, Richard A. Carly.  Carly began knocking on the door and eventually tried to enter when there was no answer.  At this point, McCutcheon suddenly opened the door and pulled Carly inside.  Continue reading

Waiver of Attorney Work Product and Attorney-Client Privilege Protections

Pennsylvania Supreme Court: Waiver of Attorney Work Product and Attorney-Client Privilege Protections

by Patrick Casey, Esquire

The attorney-client privilege and attorney work product doctrine are two well-known evidentiary protections. Although both protect otherwise relevant and “discoverable” materials from disclosure, the two evidentiary protections serve different purposes and are subject to different standards.

The purpose of the attorney-client privilege is to foster the free and open communication of information between the lawyer and client. Whereas, the purpose of the work product doctrine is to protect the mental impressions of an attorney acting on behalf of a client. Consistent with the purposes of these evidentiary protections, the attorney-client privilege is held by the client, while the work product protection is held by the attorney.

Recently, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court clarified the circumstances under which attorney work product protection may be waived, while distinguishing such waiver from the standard for waiver of the attorney-client privilege. Continue reading

Robert A Morton, IV joins Connor, Weber & Oberlies

Robert A. Morton IV joined Connor, Weber & Oberlies in 2019 and works out of the Paoli, Pennsylvania office. Robert focuses his practice in the areas of construction claims, products liability, professional liability, and Federal Civil Rights litigation. Robert is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the State of New Jersey, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the U.S. Tax Court. Robert will be based out of the Paoli office of Connor, Weber & Oberlies.

Summary Judgement affirmed in Malpractice case against NJ Insurance Producer.

Summary Judgment was affirmed by the Appellate Division in a professional malpractice case against an insurance producer in a New Jersey Superior Court case. Amelia M. Lolli, Esquire was successful in obtaining summary judgment in favor of a Camden County insurance agency in a 2014 case. The summary judgment decision was appealed by the Plaintiff and oral argument was conducted by Ms. Lolli in front of the Appellate Division in January 2019. The Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal of the case by the trial court and found the insurance producer did not breach a fiduciary duty to its client.

Can real estate buyer waive seller’s disclosure…Pennsylvania’s Real Estate Seller Disclosure Law

by Monica Reynolds

Can a buyer of residential real estate waive a seller’s disclosure obligations under Pennsylvania’s Real Estate Seller Disclosure Law?

The short answer is: maybe, but in any event, not absent an affirmative waiver. In Phelps v. Caperoon, — A.3d –, 2018 WL 3016477 (Pa. Super. June 18, 2018), the Pennsylvania Superior Court recently addressed the issue of whether an “as-is” clause in the agreement of sale implicitly waived a seller’s disclosure obligations under the Real Estate Seller Disclosure Law, 68 Pa. C.S. §§ 7101-7103, 7301-7314, et seq., (“RESDL”), but stopped short of giving a definitive answer as to whether an explicit waiver would be permitted. Continue reading

Pennsylvania Superior Court: No Deference Where Trial Judge Fails to Observe Voir Dire

By: Pat Casey

A common practice in many state civil courtrooms throughout Pennsylvania, certainly in its two busiest courts – the Philadelphia and Allegheny Courts of Common Pleas – has recently been found to be lacking by the Superior Court: jury selection outside the presence of a judge. When civil litigators select a jury, they use a process in which the attorneys and the court work together to search for potential hardship, bias and prejudice among the prospective jurors through a series of written and oral questions, known as voir dire (meaning roughly “to tell the truth”). Commonly in civil litigation, the trial judge does directly not participate in this process. Instead, the trial judge will delegate one of his or her staff to handle this sometimes time-consuming endeavor of narrowing down a potential juror pool of hundreds to the 8 or 12 jurors who will ultimately hear the case, along with 1 or 2 alternate jurors.

Continue reading

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Affirms $1.68 Million Dollar Award for CWO client

In the most recent chapter of litigation spanning more than 23 years, on September 27, 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed a subcontractor’s $1.68 million dollar award entered pursuant to the Contractor Subcontractor Payment Act. Monica Reynolds, co-counsel to the subcontractor, has represented the subcontractor since 2002 in its efforts to pierce the corporate veil and collect its $200,000 arbitration award obtained under the Contractor Subcontractor Payment Act (“CASPA”) in 1998. Continue reading

Redesigned Website for Improved Communication

Announcing a new look to our website! We recently completed a redesign of our website to better communicate with and serve you.

You will notice a more modern look with better access through your mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones.

We plan to update our news and articles on a regular basis to keep you informed on our law firm and a variety of legal issues that we hope you will find relevant and helpful.