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. 2019 can be found in our Archives.
Allocatur granted Jan. 7, 2021. Termination of Parental Rights; Adoption Act; “Good Cause” pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 2901
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear argument on whether Maternal Grandparents were required to demonstrate “good cause” pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 2901 in order to complete the adoption of their granddaughter where the proposed adoption would not promote a new parent-child relationship or create a new family unit.
Allocatur granted Dec. 14, 2020. PSP’s Standing under 42 Pa.C.S. §9799.74 in PCRA Petition for Removal from Sex Offender Registry
In this case, the Supreme Court will consider whether the Pennsylvania State Police have standing pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. §9799.74 to intervene in a PCRA petition that seeks removal of a convicted sex offender from the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act registry.
Allocatur granted Dec. 9, 2020. Showing of Need for Testifying Witness Special Accommodation
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur to consider two issues of first impression: (1) whether defendant was prejudiced during his murder trial when a minor witness was allowed to use a comfort dog when the witness testified, and (2) whether a finding of “necessity” or “need” is required in order for a trial court to allow the presence of service or support animals or items for a witness testifying at trial.
Allocatur granted Dec. 2, 2020. Beneficiary’s Automatic Standing to Challenge Trustee’s Alleged Breaches of Fiduciary Duties
The Supreme Court will consider whether a beneficiary has automatic standing to challenge all of a trustee’s breaches of fiduciary duties toward the trust or must demonstrate substantial, direct, and immediate harm to challenge a trustee’s particular breaches.
Allocatur granted Nov. 17, 2020. Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act; Manifestation Rule
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted review to consider whether a claimant seeking benefits for an occupational disease under Section 108 of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act has to satisfy the manifestation rule found at Section 301(c)(2).
Allocatur granted Nov. 4, 2020. Statutory Authority to Enact Ordinance Prohibiting Housing Discrimination based on Source of Income; Home Rule Law; Pennsylvania Human Relations Act
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted review to consider whether, under the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s analysis in Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association v. City of Pittsburgh, 211 A.3d 810 (Pa. 2019), the City of Pittsburgh had express statutory authority to enact an ordinance prohibiting housing discrimination against City residents based on their sources of income.
Allocatur granted Nov. 3, 2020. The Uniformity Clause and the Burden of Proof in Tax Assessment Appeals
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether the Uniformity Clause prohibits school districts from (i) appealing tax assessments only for properties that have an actual market value of over $1 million; and (ii) implementing an assessment appeal selection system which subjected only commercial properties to disparate treatment in operation and effect. Additionally, the Court will consider whether the burden of proof in matters of alleged discrimination by school districts in tax assessment appeals lies with the districts or the taxpayers.
Allocatur granted Oct. 13, 2020. Waiver of Statute of Limitations Defense; Law of the Case/Coordinate Jurisdiction Rule
The issue presented in this case involves application of the coordinate jurisdiction rule where one trial court judge found the statute of limitations defense waived, but a second trial judge in the same case allowed the defendants to amend their pleadings to include a statute of limitations defense, resulting in dismissal of the case on statute of limitations grounds.
Allocatur granted Oct. 13, 2020. Zoning; Zoning Board Member Conflict of Interest; Failure to Issue Written Opinion within 45 Days of a Public Hearing
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted review to consider whether Commonwealth Court erred in affirming the trial court’s order upholding a grant of zoning relief despite an alleged conflict of interest of a zoning board member and where the City of Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment failed to issue a written decision within 45 days of a public hearing.
Allocatur granted Sept. 22, 2020. Formation of Independent School District; Consideration of Financial Concerns of Transferor School
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur in this case involving the consideration of financial concerns of a transferor school in the formation of an independent school district.
Allocatur granted Sept. 15, 2020. Production of Peer Review Documents; Pennsylvania Peer Review Protection Act; Federal Healthcare Quality Improvement Act
The Supreme Court will consider whether the Peer Review Protection Act and/or federal Healthcare Quality Improvement Act protects disclosure of professional opinions and performance evaluations of a surgeon that a hospital credentialing committee obtained from other physicians and reviewed before granting hospital privileges to the surgeon.
Allocatur granted Sept. 9, 2020. Failure to provide authentication of foreign judgment; waiver of subject matter jurisdiction
The Supreme Court will consider whether Superior Court erred in holding the failure to authenticate a foreign judgment pursuant to the requirements of the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, 42 Pa.C.S. § 4306, deprives a trial court of subject matter jurisdiction such that a challenge to that failure may not be waived.
Allocatur granted Sept. 1, 2020. Due Process; Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act; Non-Healthcare Provider’s Right to Intervene in Utilization Review of Treatment
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted review to consider Commonwealth Court’s creation of a new rule that, as of December 12, 2019, non-healthcare providers of medical supplies are entities with standing and the right to intervene in the Workers’ Compensation Act’s Utilization Review process.
Allocatur granted Aug. 25, 2020. Board of Claims jurisdiction: To qualify as a grant to “procure construction” as to which the grantee may sue the Commonwealth, must the construction be for a publicly owned or controlled structure?
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur to examine whether the Board of Claims has subject matter jurisdiction over a breach of contract claim to enforce an award of a Commonwealth grant where the construction for which the grant is provided is not for a publicly owned or controlled structure.
Allocatur granted Aug. 25, 2020. Does Chapter 3 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure Apply to Veterans Treatment Court?
In a case of first impression, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether Veterans Treatment Court is controlled by Chapter 3 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, and if not, whether a trial court’s failure to conduct an ability to pay hearing violates the right to due process and equal protection under the United States Constitution.
Allocatur granted Aug. 25, 2020. Miranda Warnings when Individual Already Charged with Crime
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether law enforcement must do more than provide Miranda warnings to satisfy the right to counsel if law enforcement deliberately withheld that the detained individual has already been charged with a crime.
Allocatur granted Aug. 17, 2020. Standard of Proof for Rebuttal of Presumption of At-Will Employment
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether the lower court correctly applied a preponderance of the evidence standard of proof, as opposed to the clear and direct evidence standard of proof, to the rebuttal of the presumption of at-will employment.
Allocatur granted August 5, 2020. Double Jeopardy; Municipal Court Jurisdiction
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether the Commonwealth was required to try drug offenses and suspended license offenses simultaneously because the Philadelphia Municipal Court and the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia are both in the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania.
Allocatur granted Aug. 4, 2020. Standard for Police to Conduct More Intrusive Search Following Terry Frisk
The Supreme Court granted allocatur in this case involving the standard for police to conduct a more intrusive search based on an officer’s belief that what he felt in appellant’s pocket during a Terry frisk was a weapon.
Allocatur granted Aug. 4, 2020. Fourth Amendment; Warrantless Search of College’s Wireless Internet Connection Records
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether accessing a college’s wireless internet connection records without first obtaining a warrant violates the Fourth Amendment.
Allocatur granted Aug. 3, 2020. Unemployment Compensation Board; Scope of Review; Board Consideration of Issue Raised Sua Sponte
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur in this matter to determine whether Commonwealth Court properly applied the holding in Lyness v. State Bd. of Med., 605 A.2d 1204 (Pa. 1992) regarding the improper commingling of prosecutorial and adjudicatory functions to limit the Unemployment Compensation Board’s review of an issue of eligibility for benefits that was not raised by either the employer or the Department on appeal.
Allocatur granted July 28, 2020. Retrieval of Real-Time Cell-Site Location Information (CSLI); Pennsylvania Wiretap Act; Fourth Amendment
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur to determine whether a Court of Common Pleas Order issued under Pennsylvania’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act permitting the Commonwealth to search over 100 days of real-time CSLI was the equivalent of a search warrant in accordance with the warrant requirement for historical CSLI as recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in Carpenter v. United States,138 S.Ct. 2206 (2018), and whether Carpenter extends to the collection of real-time CSLI.
Petition for Certification granted July 24, 2020. MVFRL Stacking of Underinsured (UIM) Benefits: Waiver, Interpolicy Stacking, Household Vehicle Exclusion
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider certified questions of law from the Third Circuit involving the interpretation of Pennsylvania’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) concerning the stacking of underinsured (UIM) benefits between two separate policies of insurance.
Allocatur granted July 10, 2020. Constables’ Authority to Detain following a “Breach of the Peace” Offense
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will examine whether constables possess the power at common law to make a warrantless arrest and detain an offender for a breach of the peace until the state police, at the instruction of the prosecutor, arrive to investigate the offender for a more serious offense.
Allocatur granted June 23, 2020. Past Bad Acts Evidence; Unwritten Non-Prosecution Agreement
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur to determine whether live testimony and deposition testimony in which Bill Cosby testified related to the drug-facilitated sexual assaults of five women, and his admissions about his knowledge and use of Quaaludes was relevant and admissible evidence and whether a non-prosecution agreement allegedly entered into by the District Attorney to secure Cosby’s deposition testimony barred Cosby’s prosecution.
Allocatur granted June 23, 2020. Public Utilities; Late Payment Charges Following Docketing of Municipal Lien
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur to determine whether a public utility may incur further late payment charges on past due bills consistent with its Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC)-approved tariff after the city docketed a lien in the county court in relation to an unpaid balance.
Allocatur granted June 23, 2020. Medical Negligence Trial; Evidence of General Risks and Complications; Limiting Instruction
In a case of first impression, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will determine whether in a medical negligence claim, a limiting instruction is warranted when evidence of general risks and complications is admitted to establish the applicable standard of care.
Allocatur granted June 22, 2020. Piercing the Corporate Veil: “Enterprise ” vs. “Single Entity” Theory
In this matter of first impression, the Supreme Court will consider whether to adopt the “enterprise theory” or “single entity” theory of piercing the corporate veil
Allocatur granted June 2, 2020. Criminal Procedure Rule 600 Time Requirement; New Hearing on Commonwealth’s Due Diligence
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur in this case to determine whether the Superior Court erred in remanding for a new hearing on the Commonwealth’s due diligence under Pa. R. Crim. P. Rule 600.
Allocatur granted May 11, 2020. Pa.R.E. 106; Rebuttal Testimony; Introduction of New Evidence
The Supreme Court will consider whether introducing a video of a child sexual assault victim’s forensic interview during rebuttal, when defense has made limited references, is appropriate under the Pennsylvania Rule of Evidence, Rule 106.
Allocatur granted May 11, 2020. Endangering the welfare of a child under 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 4304(a)(1); Failure to Use Appropriate Restraint System in Car for Hire
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur in this case to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to convict a mother for knowingly endangering the welfare of her daughter (endangering the welfare of children or EWOC) under the Crimes Code, 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 4304(a)(1), which provides that “[a] parent, guardian, or other person supervising the welfare of a child under 18 years of age … commits [the offense of EWOC] if [s]he knowingly endangers the welfare of the child by violating a duty of care, protection, or support.”
Allocatur granted Apr. 6, 2020. Zoning; Static Vinyl versus Electronic Advertising Signs
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will determine whether the Commonwealth Court erred in affirming the trial court’s decision that the City of Pittsburgh’s Zoning Board of Adjustment’s (ZBA) decision lacked substantial evidence that the placement of a static vinyl advertisement overtop an existing, nonconforming electronic advertising sign violated the City’s zoning code.
Allocatur granted March 31, 2020. Good Faith Effort to Effectuate Service
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur in this case to determine whether the Superior Court’s affirmance of the dismissal of a civil complaint because the plaintiff failed to make a good faith effort to timely serve the defendant was in error and in contravention of precedent.
Allocatur granted March 10, 2020. Waiver for Failure to File Preliminary Objections to Mechanic’s Lien
The Pennsylvania Supreme granted allocatur in this case to determine whether there is a time limitation by which a property owner must file preliminary objections to a mechanic’s lien under Section 505 of the Mechanic’s Lien Law of 1963.
Allocatur granted Feb. 6, 2020. Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel where Companion Case not Appealed
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur in this case to determine whether Commonwealth Court erred in applying res judicata and collateral estoppel where a companion case was not appealed.
Allocatur granted Feb. 20, 2020. Preclusion of Evidence that Allegedly Shows Crime was Committed by Someone Else
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider preclusion of evidence that allegedly shows a crime was committed by someone else.
Allocatur granted Jan. 28, 2020. Right to Know Law; Disclosure of Financial and Security Information Contained within Medical Marijuana Organizations’ Applications
In these consolidated Right to Know law appeals, the Supreme Court will consider whether redacted security and financial information contained in applications for medical marijuana grower/processor and dispensary permits, which prospective applicants submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Health pursuant to the Medical Marijuana Act, is subject to disclosure.
Allocatur granted Jan. 28, 2020. Workers’ Compensation; Pretrial Incarceration Suspension of Benefits
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur in this case to determine whether a pretrial incarceration meets the statutory requirement to suspend Workers’ Compensation benefits under 77 P.S. § 511.1,
Allocatur granted Jan. 28, 2020. Contractual Immunity from Liability for Negligent Road Repair
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether the City of Philadelphia can contractually immunize itself from liability for breaching a mandatory public safety duty to repair road hazards and whether an exculpatory release of liability for an organized bike riding event immunizes the City from liability for negligently repairing a road hazard before the parties drafted or entered into the release.
Allocatur granted Jan. 8, 2020. Workers’ Compensation; Traveling Employee Presumption
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider the applicability of the traveling employee presumption to a company-sponsored event in this workers’ compensation appeal.
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.