Review of a final order of the Superior Court or the Commonwealth Court is not a matter of right, but of sound judicial discretion, and an appeal is allowed only when there are special and important reasons. The Supreme Court grants allocatur as to particular issues, not cases.
Pennsylvania Appellate Advocate will note allocatur grants and will provide background on the issues as to which discretionary review has been granted. This page is updated on a continuing basis. Allocatur grants issued Aug. 2017 – Dec. 2021 can be found in our Archives.
Allocatur granted Mar. 22, 2023. Medical Malpractice; Pa. R.C.P. 4003.6; Opposing Counsel’s Ex Parte Communications with a Party’s Treating Physician
The Supreme Court will consider whether a law firm representing the defendant can have ex parte communications with a non-party treating physician without violating Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 4003.6.
Allocatur granted Mar. 7, 2023. Charitable Trust Termination; Settlor’s Intent
In this case of first impression, the Supreme Court will consider termination of a Trust and payment of its assets pursuant to subsection (e) of Pennsylvania’s Charitable Trust Termination Statute, which allows for such remedies where the administrative expense of operating the trust is disproportionate to the charitable benefits bestowed by the trust.
Allocatur granted Feb. 22, 2023. “Public Work” under the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act; Municipal Bonds
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether a construction project undertaken by Ursinus College was “public work” under Section 2(5) of the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act because the project was financed through bonds issued by the Montgomery County Higher Education and Health Authority.
Allocatur granted Feb. 15, 2023. Reinstatement of Disability Benefits; Judicial Review of WCAB Determination
The issue in this case is whether the Commonwealth Court, in reversing the Workers Compensation Appeal Board and reinstating the claimant’s total disability benefits, correctly applied the holding of Duffey v. WCAB (Trola-Dyne, Inc.), 152 A.3d 984 (Pa. 2017) (Duffey II) or expanded Duffey II and thereby intruded on the province of the WCAB and substituted the court’s judgment.
Allocatur granted Feb. 13, 2023. Is an order finding standing in a custody action appealable as a collateral order?
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider the appealability of an order finding standing in a custody action.
Allocatur granted Feb. 6, 2023. Statute of Limitations applicable to accounting claim by a tenant in-common of real property.
The issue in this case is whether the six-year catch-all statute of limitations applies to a claim for an accounting by a tenant in common that is not in possession of real property against the co-tenant that is in possession.
Allocatur granted Jan. 9, 2023. Discretion of trial court to decline to award treble damages under the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) where common law punitive damages and statutory attorneys fees were already awarded.
In this case, the Supreme Court will consider a trial court’s discretion in the award of treble damages under the UTPCPL.
Allocatur granted Jan. 4, 2023. Pennsylvania Limited Partnership Act; Forced Arbitration
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur to consider whether a limited partner can force arbitration of his challenges to a special litigation committee.
Allocatur granted Jan. 4, 2023. Statute of Limitations; Excuse from Pa. R.C.P. 401 Service Requirements
The Supreme Court will consider whether a complaint not properly and timely served by Sheriff as required by the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure may be excused, where such failure is not attributable to the Plaintiff and partially due to COVID-19.
Allocatur granted Nov. 30, 2022. Does Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure Rule 600 being to run after a defendant is originally charged, or after additional charges?
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear argument on whether Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 600 starts to run after a defendant is originally charged with crimes, but further police investigation uncovers a much larger criminal operation, resulting in additional charges.
Allocatur granted Oct. 27, 2022. Unfair Labor Practice vs. Managerial Prerogative: Teacher Union Collective Bargaining Rights
In this case, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether Abington Heights School District violated its bargaining obligations by contracting with Johnson College to teach courses for high school credit.
Allocatur granted Oct. 24, 2022. Permanent Injunction Standard; Non-defamation Tort; Prior Restraint Doctrine
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of an injunction prohibiting neighbors from placing non-defamatory signs on their property.
Allocatur granted Oct. 18, 2022. Medical expert’s reliance on case history to develop opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty on cause of murder victim’s death
The Supreme Court will consider whether a medical expert may rely on a process of elimination and the “history of the case” to develop an opinion on the cause of a victim’s death.
Allocatur granted Oct. 18, 2022. Are emotional distress damages covered under an insurance policy providing liability coverage only for “bodily injury”?
The Supreme Court will consider whether an insurance company has a duty to defend an insured in claims seeking emotional distress damages where the insurance policy provides liability coverage only for “bodily injury.”
Allocatur granted Oct. 4, 2022. Use of Hearsay Evidence to Establish Defendant’s Identity at Preliminary Hearing
The Supreme Court granted allocatur to consider whether hearsay evidence of a defendant’s identity is sufficient to satisfy the Commonwealth’s burden at a preliminary hearing under Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 542(E), which provides that “[h]earsay evidence shall be sufficient to establish any element of an offense[.]”
Allocatur granted Sept. 13, 2022. Employment; Constitutionality of Application of Veterans’ Preference to Promotions
The Supreme Court granted allocatur to consider the constitutionality of the application of veterans’ preference to promotions.
Allocatur granted Aug. 15, 2022. Childcare Costs; Child Support; Pa R.C.P. 1910.16-6(a)
The Supreme Court will consider whether a child support obligation should include childcare expenses not incurred, based upon Mother’s deemed earning capacity.
Allocatur granted Aug. 10, 2022. Application of Quasi-Judicial Immunity to Guardian Ad Litem
The Supreme Court will consider whether a guardian ad litem is entitled to judicial immunity.
Allocatur granted Aug. 2, 2022. Criminal law; Suppression; Terry Stop; Reasonable Suspicion
The Supreme Court will hear argument involving the suppression of evidence recovered after a person is seized by police even where the officer did not suspect the individual stopped of criminal activity.
Allocatur granted July 27, 2022. Pennsylvania’s “No felony conviction recovery rule”
The Supreme Court will consider whether Pennsylvania’s “no felony conviction recovery” rule precludes the award of any civil damages where the convicted would not benefit or profit from their own criminal acts, but rather would be compensated for alleged medical malpractice relating to the crimes for which they pleaded guilty.
Allocatur granted June 27, 2022. Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law; Regular Use Exclusion
The Supreme Court will consider whether a “regular use” exclusion clause in an insurance policy as it relates to uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is unenforceable because it violates the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law.
Allocatur granted June 22, 2022. Zoning; Municipalities Planning Code; Consideration of Zoning Violations in Zoning Application Review
The Supreme Court granted allocatur to consider the approval of a zoning permit application filed with the Borough of Jefferson Hills for a proposed medical center development.
Allocatur granted June 22, 2022. Breach of Contract; Attorney’s Fees; Damages; Limitation on Damages
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur to consider a contractual attorney’s fees provision and the limitation of damages to profits beyond one-year post-breach.
Allocatur granted June 22, 2022. Applicability of RTKL to “State-affiliated” Entities; Nonprofit Corporation Law
The Supreme Court will consider whether the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) is subject to the RTKL.
Allocatur granted June 8, 2022. Products Liability; Manufacturer’s Defect; Evidence; Industry and Government Standards
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether it was an error of law, under the product liability principles the court established in Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc., 104 A.3d 328 (Pa. 2014) to prevent the jury from considering the product’s compliance with pertinent industry and governmental safety standards.
Allocatur granted June 8, 2022. Eminent Domain; Condemnation; Actual/Constructive Notice; Recording
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur to consider whether a right of way plan approved by the Governor is effective to condemn property pursuant to 36 P.S. § 670- 210 without the proper recording and indexing as required by that statute.
Allocatur granted June 6, 2022. Firearms; Second Amendment; Facial Challenge; As-applied Challenge
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur to consider the constitutionality of a local ordinance, which limits target shooting to two non-residential zoning districts.
Allocatur granted June 6, 2022. Admissibility of False Memory Expert Testimony at Trial for Sexual Offenses under 18 Pa.C.S. Chapter 31
The Supreme Court granted allocatur to consider whether expert testimony regarding false memories is admissible at trial for sex crimes.
Allocatur granted May 25, 2022. Civil procedure, Coordination under Pa. R.C.P. 213.1
The Supreme Court will consider whether actions involving similar coverage issues against Erie Insurance Exchange can be coordinated pursuant to Rule 213.1 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure.
Allocatur granted May 17, 2022. Irrevocable Trust; Power of attorney declared void ab initio
The Supreme Court will consider whether a trust created by an improperly executed, but otherwise facially proper power of attorney is void upon creation.
Allocatur granted May 11, 2022. Confrontation Clause; Testimonial Statements
The Supreme Court will consider whether a “Shotspotter Investigative Lead Summary” written report is testimonial in nature and therefore subject to the Confrontation Clause under the United States and Pennsylvania Constitutions.
Allocatur granted Apr. 26, 2022. Pennsylvania Securities Act: must a plaintiff plead and prove scienter to recover for misrepresentations?
The Supreme Court granted allocatur to consider whether plaintiffs must plead that defendants intended to deceive investors to recover in a lawsuit brought under Pennsylvania Securities Act.
Allocatur granted Apr. 12, 2022. Does Post Conviction Relief Act’s (PCRA) time-bar trump a trial court’s power to correct obvious mistakes?
The Supreme Court will consider whether the PCRA prevents a court from exercising its inherent power to correct obvious errors in sentencing after the expiration of the PCRA’s one-year limit.
Allocatur granted Mar. 31, 2022. Negligence; Liability; Non-Licensed Host; Liquor Code
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider if a non-licensed host who invites guests to an event for purposes that are not purely social, and requires those who wish to attend to pay a fee in exchange for alcohol that will be provided on a self-serve-drink all you want basis, is not liable to an innocent third party who is injured as the result of a guest who left the event and was provided alcohol while visibly intoxicated during the event.
Allocatur granted Mar. 31, 2022. Intentional interference with at-will employment contract by supervisor acting out of personal animus: Actionable?
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider if Pennsylvania should apply the Restatement Second of Torts § 766 to an Intentional Interference claim by an at-will employee against a supervisor who acted against that employee, not as an agent on behalf of her employer, but ultra vires and pursuant to personal animus.
Allocatur granted Mar. 30, 2022. Right to Know Law: Remand to OOR for Additional Fact-finding based on Public Safety Concerns
The Supreme Court granted allocatur to consider whether Commonwealth Court abused its discretion in ordering the Office of Open Records to conduct additional factfinding as to whether the records in question are exempt from disclosure under the threat to public safety exemption of the Right to Know Law.
Petition for Certification granted Feb. 14, 2022. Does a conviction under 18 Pa. C.S. § 2702(a)(1) require some use of physical force?
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether a conviction for first degree aggravated assault pursuant to subsection (a)(1) requires the use of physical force.
Allocatur granted Feb. 1, 2022. Sales-based Real Estate Tax Assessment; School District Discretion
In this case, the court will consider, as a matter of first impression, whether a school district’s use of recent sales prices to select property assessments for appeal violates either the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution or the Uniformity Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Allocatur granted Jan. 4, 2022. Workers’ Compensation; Heart and Lung Benefit Subrogation from Recovery under the Dram Shop Act
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether an employer that paid Heart and Lung Act benefits entitled to subrogation from a claim in which the employee was injured and asserted motor vehicle negligence- and Dram Shop Act-based claims.
Allocatur granted Jan. 4, 2022. Third-Party Standing to Intervene in Adoption
The Supreme Court will consider whether the lower court erred in deciding that a third-party did not stand in loco parentis and therefore lacked standing to intervene in the child’s adoption.
Allocatur granted Jan. 4, 2022. Acceptance of ARD as a Prior Conviction for DUI Sentencing Purposes
The court granted allocatur to consider whether acceptance of ARD is a prior conviction for the purposes of DUI sentencing.
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.