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2017 Allocatur Archive

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December 2017

County of Butler v. Centurylink Communications, LLC,  163 A.3d 504 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2017), appeal docket 66 WAP 2017

Allocatur granted Dec. 27, 2017.  911 Act; Statutory Construction Act Section 1504 and Common Law

The Supreme Court granted allocatur to determine when the General Assembly plainly and unambiguously grants the right to enforce a statute to a particular Commonwealth agency, may a different plaintiff circumvent this legislative directive by attempting to enforce the statute through common-law damages claims?

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Schock v. City of Lebanon, 167 A.3d 861 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2017), appeal docket 79 MAP 2017

Allocatur granted Dec. 27, 2017. Statutory Construction; In Pari Materia; Expressio Unius Est Exclusio Alterius

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania granted allocatur related to statutory interpretation of the Neighborhood Improvement District Act as decided by the Commonwealth Court.

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Melmark Inc. v. Schutt, 169 A.3d 638 (Pa. Super. 2017), appeal docket 78 MAP 2017

Allocatur granted Dec. 26, 2017.  Choice of Law; Quantum Meruit

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania granted allocatur to determine issues stemming from a rare choice of law decision from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

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Commonwealth v. Gill, 158 A.3d 719 (Pa. Super. 2017), appeal docket 65 WAP 2017

Allocatur granted Dec. 20, 2017.  Admission of Evidence of Similar Crimes; Relevance

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania granted allocatur related to the admission of evidence of a subsequent, similar burglary at the same residence as evidence of similar crimes, behaviors, and/or acts.

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HIKO Energy, LLC v. Pennsylvania PUC, 163 A.3d 1079 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2017), appeal docket 39 EAP 2017

Allocatur granted Dec. 13, 2017.  Civil Penalties; Excessive Fines Clause

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania granted allocatur on issues related to a $1,836,125.00 civil penalty imposed against Hiko Energy by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and affirmed by a divided Commonwealth Court.

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Commonwealth v. Childs, 2017 WL 2274639 (Pa. Super.)(unpublished), allocatur granted Dec. 6, 2017, appeal docket 436 MAL 2017

Allocatur granted Dec. 6, 2017.  PCRA; Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania granted allocatur to determine whether the PCRA court erred in dismissing Childs’ Petition for Post Conviction Relief averring that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to remarks of the assistant district attorney during her closing argument wherein she repeatedly called Childs a liar?

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November 2017

Building Owners & Managers Assoc. v. City of Pittsburgh, 2017 WL 2153216 (Pa. Cmwlth); Pa. Restaurant & Lodging Assoc. v. City of Pittsburgh, 2017 WL 2153813 (Pa. Cmwlth.), appeal dockets 57-64 WAP 2017 (consolidated for briefing and oral argument)

Allocatur granted Nov. 29, 2017.  Municipality’s Authority under Home Rule Charter Law; Exception by Statute

The Supreme Court granted allocatur to determine whether the Commonwealth Court erred in holding that the State Emergency Management Services Code, the State Disease Prevention and Control Act Law, the Second Class City Code, and the Home Rule Charter and Options Law fail to satisfy the “expressly provided by statute” exception, and that the City of Pittsburgh therefore lacked the authority to pass the Paid Sick Days Act and the Safe and Secure Buildings Act?

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Feleccia v. Lackawanna College, 156 A.3d 1200 (Pa. Super. 2017), appeal docket 75 MAP 2017

Allocatur granted Nov. 29, 2017.  College’s Duty of Care to Student-Athletes; Exculpatory Clause

The Supreme Court granted allocatur to determine issues involving a college’s duty of care to student athletes and whether the exculpatory clause shields the college from liability.

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Harmon v. UCBR, 163 A.3d 1057 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2017), appeal docket 37 EAP 2017

Allocatur granted Nov. 28, 2017.  Unemployment Compensation; Ineligibility for Benefits due to Incarceration

The Supreme Court granted allocatur to determine issues involving a claimant’s eligibility for unemployment benefits under Section 402.6 for weeks when Claimant was subject to part-time incarceration, and administrative deference afforded to the UCBR.

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Gavin v. Loeffelbein, 161 A.3d 340 (Pa. Super. 2017), appeal docket 74 MAP 2017

Allocatur granted Nov. 28, 2017.  Automatic Termination of Emergency Guardianship; Incapacity & Financial Transactions

The Supreme Court granted allocatur to determine whether the Superior Court erred by holding emergency guardianship orders automatically expire and/or by holding that the rebuttable presumption that an incapacitated person is unable to engage in financial transactions is inapplicable to a person under the protection of an emergency guardian who has been appointed for the person and his estate?

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Commonwealth v. Hlubin, 165 A.3d 1 (Pa. Super. 2017), appeal docket 56 WAP 2017

Allocatur granted Nov. 21, 2017.  Municipal Police Powers; DUI Checkpoints

The Supreme Court granted allocatur to consider whether the Superior Court erroneously broadened municipal police powers by holding that when municipal police officers leave their primary jurisdiction for the purpose of conducting sobriety checkpoints.

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Commonwealth v. Braddock, 2017 WL 1394012 (Pa. Super.)(unreported), appeal docket 73 MAP 2017

Allocatur granted Nov. 20, 2017.  DUI; Enhanced Penalties for Blood Test Refusal

Whether the Superior Court, relying on Commonwealth v. Giron, 155 A.3d 635 (Pa. Super. 2017), improperly expanded the illegal sentencing doctrine when it vacated Braddock’s sentence on a non-preserved constitutional issue, holding that Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S.Ct. 2160 (2016), rendered enhanced penalties under 75 Pa.C.S. §§ 3803-3804 illegal, even though Birchfield recognized exigent circumstances or a search warrant can still justify increased penalties for a blood test refusal?

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Mitchell v. Shikora, D.O., University of Pittsburgh Physicians D/B/A, Womancare Associates, Magee Women’s Hospital of UPMC, 161 A.3d 970, appeal docket 55 WAP 2017

Allocatur granted Nov. 20, 2017.  Evidence of General Risks and Complications in a Medical Negligence Claim

Whether the Superior Court’s holding directly conflicts with this Honorable Court’s holdings in Brady v. Urbas, 111 A.3d 1155 (Pa. 2015), which permits evidence of general risks and complications in a medical negligence claim?

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Commonwealth v. Adams2016 WL 4698914 (Pa. Super.) (unreported), appeal docket 36 EAP 2017

Allocatur granted Nov. 20, 2017. Exceptions to a Forfeiture Determination

Was it not error for the Superior Court automatically to dismiss petitioner’s appeal without a merits review when this Court’ consistent jurisprudence allows exceptions to a forfeiture determination and petitioner’s circumstances track those exceptions?

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Commonwealth v. Griffin, 149 A.3d 349 (Pa. Super. 2016), allocatur granted Nov. 14, 2017, appeal docket 72 MAP 2017

Allocatur granted Nov. 14, 2017. Three Strikes Law; Separate Sentencing for Related Conspiracy

Whether the Superior Court erred in affirming the imposition of separate consecutive “second strike” mandatory minimum sentence[s] for each conspiracy and crime which was the object of that conspiracy?

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Commonwealth v. DeWeese, 2017 WL 1906106 (unreported)(Pa. Super. 2017), appeal docket 69 MAP 2017

Allocatur granted Nov. 7, 2017. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel; Post Conviction Relief Act

Did the Superior Court err in denying PCRA relief where [Petitioner’s] trial counsel failed to preserve for direct appeal the testimony of 14 witnesses who were prevented by the trial court from offering exculpatory testimony that was crucial to the defense and that would have directly contradicted the Commonwealth’s primary witnesses at trial?

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Pittsburgh History & Landmarks v. Ziegler161 A.3d 394 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2017), appeal docket 54 WAP 2017

Allocatur granted Nov. 1, 2017. Attorney-Client Privilege in Derivative Litigation; Fiduciary, Common Interest, & Garner Exceptions

Whether, in the context of derivative litigation, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will adopt the qualified attorney-client privilege, the scope of which is subjectively determined, as articulated in the often criticized decision of Garner v. Wolfinbarger, 430 F.2d 1093 (5th Cir. 1970), cert. denied, 401 U.S. 974 (1971), and as articulated in the Restatement (Third) of the Law Governing Lawyers, § 85, where the ambiguous and uncertain scope of such a privilege is inconsistent with Pennsylvania Supreme Court precedent and in conflict with the Pennsylvania statute codifying the attorney-client privilege.

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October 2017 Allocatur Grant Archive

September 2017 Allocatur Grant Archive 

August 2017 Allocatur Grant Archive

Allocatur grants present an excellent opportunity for your group or association to advance your legal and policy goals by filing an amicus brief. Participating as an amicus has proven to be an effective method of advising and influencing courts and often can involve far fewer resources than traditional lobbying.

If you are interested or would like more information, contact Kevin McKeon or Dennis Whitaker.