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Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Clarifies Time Limitations for Joinder Petitions >
January 6, 2020
By: Karyn Dobroskey Rienzi and Patrick T. Cusick
In a recent Opinion, Sota Construction Services, Inc. v. WCAB (Czarnecki), the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court clarified the time limitations for filing Joinder Petitions as well as the issue of the appealability of orders dismissing Joinder Petitions. Specifically, the Court held that a party is not required to file a Joinder Petition within the three-year statute of limitations for filing a Claim Petition under Section 315 of the Act.

City of Pittsburgh's Paid Sick Days Act Mandating Employers Provide Employees Paid Sick Time Becomes Effective March 15, 2020 >
December 18, 2019
By: David E. Renner
The Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act (PSDA) is not slated to become effective on March 15, 2020 - what should Pittsburgh employers be doing now to prepare?

Management's Failure to Investigate Harassment Entitles Employee to Trial >
December 11, 2019
The Legal Intelligencer
By: Sidney R. Steinberg
how many discriminatory comments does it take to create a hostile work environment? how should a manager handle vague reports of harassing conduct? These questions and more were recently addressed in Mitchell v. Kensington Community Corp. for Individual Dignity, where the court denied summary judgment to an employer based on management's failure to meaningfully investigate repeated, albeit somewhat vague, reports of harassment.

Maintaining Quality and Preserving Privilege for Telemedicine and Other Outsourced Providers >
December 1, 2019
AHLA Connections
By: Robin Locke Nagele and Elizabeth M. Hein
The use of telemedicine and other contract providers creates challenges in terms of preserving privilege protection for the professional oversight function, particularly given restrictive judicial decisions such as a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision denying privilege protection to a hospital and its contracted emergency medicine provider. This article discusses the current legal environment that presents obstacles to full privilege protection, and outlines and compares a range of practical solutions based on state law peer review privilege and the federal Patient Safety Quality Improvement Act (PSQIA).

False Claims Act Relators Cannot Intervene in Criminal Proceedings that Result from Relator's Disclosure to Government, Third Circuit Rules >
November 19, 2019
By: Carolyn H. Kendall
On October 28, 2019, the Third Circuit in United States v. Wegeler addressed an issue of first impression, holding that a False Claims Act (FCA) relator whose information resulted in a criminal prosecution cannot intervene in that prosecution to pursue a whistleblower award. The court held a relator can only get a recovery by proceeding with his FCA qui tam action. In so ruling, the Third Circuit joined the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits, which are the only other circuits to have considered this issue.

Trying a Case Before the Social Media Generation >
November 11, 2019
The Legal Intelligencer's 2019 Personal Injury Supplement
By: Patrick C. Lamb and Amanda R. Hammar
Keeping the attention of jurors during a trial can be challenging. Trial days are long and most jurors are far removed from the days of listening to lengthy class lectures. These inherent difficulties are only magnified by the decreased attention spans caused by constant social media immersion and smartphone participation.

Class Action Risk for Hospitality and Retail Industries: Title III of the ADA and Gift Cards >
November 5, 2019
By: Fara A. Cohen and Andrea M. Kirshenbaum
Last week presented a new challenge for merchants and retailers as plaintiff's attorneys inundated the courts with a potential new theory of liability under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act involving gift cards. At least 33 class action lawsuits were filed in two U.S. District Courts in New York alleging certain merchants and retailers violate the ADA by discriminating against blind and visually impaired individuals when they sell gift cards without writing in braille. The businesses named in the suits include restaurants, coffee shops, auto parts stores, pet retailers, and national franchises.

‘Tis the Season for Overtime Regulations for Both the DOL and L&I >
October 29, 2019
The Legal Intelligencer
By: Andrea M. Kirshenbaum
On Sept. 24, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its final overtime rule that raises the minimum salary threshold for executive, administrative, and professional employees from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $684 per week ($35,568 per year) to qualify as exempt from overtime pay under the FLSA. The DOL estimates that its final rule, which will become effective Jan. 1, 2020, will extend overtime pay eligibility to 1.3 million workers.

Commonwealth Court Rejects Constitutional Challenge to the New IRE Provisions >
October 21, 2019
By: Karyn Dobroskey Rienzi and Patrick T. Cusick
In an October 11, 2019 Opinion in the matter of Pennsylvania AFL-CIO v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a three-judge panel of the Commonwealth Court unanimously denied the Petition for Review of the AFL-CIO, which alleged that the newly-enacted IRE provision, Section 306(a.3) of the Workers' Compensation Act, was unconstitutional, and sought an injunction with regard to the use of the new IRE provision.

Summary Judgment Granted Despite Employer's Questionable 'Methodology' >
October 8, 2019
The Legal Intelligencer
By: Sidney R. Steinberg
It is an axiom of employment law that an employer's decision to terminate an employee does not need to be "right," but only needs to be based upon its reasonable and nondiscriminatory belief that the employee's behavior warrants discipline. This was most recently illustrated in the case of Beishl v. County of Bucks, where the court granted summary judgment to the employer while questioning the "methodology" of its analysis.

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final Overtime Rule >
September 24, 2019
By: Andrea M. Kirshenbaum
On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor DOL issued its Final Overtime Rule which raises the minimum salary threshold for "executive," "administrative," and "professional," employees from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $684 per week ($35,568 per year) to qualify as exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The DOL estimates that the Final Rule, which will become effective on January 1, 2020, will extend overtime pay eligibility to 1.3 million workers. The salary threshold in the Final Rule is nearly identical to the $679 per week proposed earlier this year by the DOL.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Holds the City of Lancaster's Attempt to Regulate Public Utilities is Entirely Preempted By the Public Utility Code >
August 26, 2019
By: David B. MacGregor, James J. Kutz, and Garrett P. Lent
On August 20, 2019, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a 7-0 opinion holding that all of the provisions contained in an ordinance enacted by the City of Lancaster are preempted by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Code.

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