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No Evidence Causes Part-Time Police Officer's Discrimination Claims to Fizzle >
March 11, 2020
The Legal Intelligencer
By: Sidney R. Steinberg and Daniel F. Thornton
Without evidence, even the most compelling argument cannot carry the day. This and other themes were recently addressed in Harrell v. Solebury Township where the court granted summary judgment after finding insufficient evidence to infer that the employer's challenged promotion decisions stemmed from unlawful discrimination or retaliation.

The Small "01" Covered Autos Symbol Could Carry Big Consequences in Pennsylvania >
March 9, 2020
By: Marni Sabrina Berger and Madison G. Melinek
Following the Third Circuit's ruling in Slupski v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., Pennsylvania commercial auto insurers should take a careful look at whether valid rejection/reduction forms are in place before issuing policies with higher covered autos liability coverage limits than Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist limits. They otherwise may be required to provide more than they bargained for in terms of coverage.

FinCEN Imposes Civil Money Penalty on Former Bank Officer for Failing to Adequately Staff Bank's AML Compliance Function and for Capping Bank's Suspicious Activity Reports >
March 5, 2020
By: Carolyn H. Kendall
In February, 2018, FinCEN and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency imposed a $185 million civil money penalty on U.S. Bank N.A. for willful violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), including failing to establish and implement an adequate anti-money laundering (AML) program and failing to report suspicious activity. On March 4, 2020, FinCEN imposed a $450,000 civil money penalty on the Bank's former Chief Operational Risk Officer for his role in these failures.

Pregnant Employee Surmounts Summary Judgment Based on Supervisor's Comments >
February 12, 2020
The Legal Intelligencer
By: Sidney R. Steinberg and Daniel F. Thornton
When a pregnant employee invokes their rights, an employer must be scrupulous in honoring them. This issue was recently addressed in May v. PNC Bank, where the court denied summary judgment based primarily on a supervisor's disparaging comments to a pregnant subordinate.

Third Circuit: Imprisonment for Refusing an Order to Decrypt a Device Cannot Exceed 18 Months - Even When Alleged Related Criminal Conduct is Involved >
February 7, 2020
By: Abraham J. Rein
On February 6, 2020, the Third Circuit ordered Francis Rawls released from confinement for civil contempt, where he has been held for over four years - since September 30, 2015. Rawls was imprisoned for refusing to comply with a Magistrate Judge's order that he use his password to decrypt his electronic devices, which the government claimed contained child pornography. Although the Third Circuit did not hold that Rawls could not be compelled to decrypt his devices, it did rule that Rawls could not be imprisoned for contempt as a "Recalcitrant Witness" for more than eighteen months.

Deadline Approaching for CA Property Owners to Submit HazMat Business Plans and Comply with Aboveground Storage Tank Requirements >
February 5, 2020
By: Paul R. McIntyre and Mica T. Iddings
Pursuant to Chapter 6.95 of California's Health and Safety Code and the associated regulations in Title 19, every commercial property in California that stores a hazardous material or mixture of hazardous materials in quantities equal or greater to 55 gallons, 500 pounds, or 200 cubic feet of gas must file electronically through either the state CERS portal or local Uniform Procedures Act (UPA) portal the property's Hazardous Materials Business Plan.

Post & Schell Successfully Defends Petition to Recover Attorney and Expert Witness Fees >
February 3, 2020
The Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board recently ruled that a Post & Schell client, Sunoco Pipeline, L.P., was not liable for attorney and expert witness fees incurred by landowners in connection with an appeal of two environmental permits issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

PA Supreme Court: Grand Jury Reports Cannot Be Used Solely to Punish or Shame Individuals Accused of Child Sex Abuse and Similar Offenses >
January 31, 2020
By: Carolyn H. Kendall
On January 22, 2020, in In re: Grand Jury Investigation No. 18, 2020 Pa. LEXIS 338, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court considered whether the report of an empaneled investigating grand jury could be made public under Pennsylvania's Investigating Grand Jury Act. The report at issue accused an individual of child sex abuse and similar serious offenses, which could not be prosecuted because the alleged conduct occurred too long ago. Relying on the Act's plain language, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the report could not be made public because it did not fit the Act's definition of an "investigating grand jury report."

Insurance Bad Faith in Pennsylvania >
By: Richard L. McMonigle, Jr.

Commonwealth Court Affirms PUC's Use of End of Test Year Methodology for Calculation of the Fully Projected Future Test Year and Application of Act 40 >
January 16, 2020
By: Jessica R. Rogers
On January 15, 2020, in the matter of McCloskey v. Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission's Order in the UGI Utilities, Inc. - Electric Division base rate proceeding at Docket No. R-2017-2640058. Specifically, the Court affirmed the PUC's finding that Act 11 allowed a public utility using the Fully Projected Future Test Year to calculate its rate base using an end of test year methodology, as well as the PUC's determination that UGI Electric had met its burden under Act 40 to show that it was appropriately using funds that previously would have been subject to the Consolidated Tax Adjustment.

Third Circuit: Non-Disclosure Orders to Prevent Revealing Receipt of Grand Jury Subpoenas Allowed Under First Amendment >
January 16, 2020
By: Carolyn H. Kendall
On January 10, 2020, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals considered whether a non-disclosure order, entered pursuant to the Stored Communications Act, preventing an electronic service provider from informing a third party that it received a grand jury subpoena, runs afoul of the First Amendment. In In re: Subpoena 2018R00776, No. 19-3124, the Third Circuit held that despite constituting a content-based, prior restriction on the speech of a grand jury witness - who is not typically bound by grand jury secrecy - non-disclosure orders withstand strict scrutiny given the government's compelling interest in maintaining grand jury secrecy.

'Lying is Lying': Dishonesty Dismantles Discrimination Dispute >
January 8, 2020
The Legal Intelligencer
By: Sidney R. Steinberg
When an employee's misconduct is related to, or even caused by, her disability, employers are faced with the difficult task of distinguishing between the employee's conduct and her condition. This and other issues were recently addressed in Weikel v. Pyramid Healthcare where the court granted summary judgment based on an employee's failure to show that her employer's well-documented reasons for her firing were a cover for unlawful discrimination.

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