As part of the courts’ ongoing Covid 19 response, arguments before the Supreme Court this month will be publicly accessible via video conference. For more information, visit: www.pacourts.us/courts/supreme-court/may-2020-supreme-court-session.
King’s Bench. Courts’ Authority to Restrict Probationers’ State-legal Medical Marijuana Use
The Supreme Court will consider whether the 52nd Judicial District’s policy prohibiting individuals from using state-legal medical marijuana if they are on probation or otherwise under court supervision is illegal under Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act.
Allocatur granted Sept. 10, 2019. Is an audio recording of an unknowing babysitter a violation of the Wiretap Act?
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur to consider whether an audio recording of an unknowing babysitter, who was an employee and regular guest in the home, is a violation of the Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act.
Allocatur granted July 24, 2019. Consolidated County Assessment Law; Tax Assessment; Valuation of Advertising Signs
The Supreme Court will consider whether the presence of an outdoor advertising sign on a property is a proper consideration when determining the fair market value of the property for the purposes of a real estate tax assessment.
Allocatur granted Nov. 20, 2019. Property Settlement Agreement; Assignment of Pension Benefits to a Third Party for Survival Annuity
The Supreme Court granted allocatur in this case to consider whether a court order requiring a beneficiary to “transfer” ERISA-exempt pension payments received from the plan administrator of the Pa. Municipal Police Pension Law (MPPL) violates the MPPL, which specifically prohibits “transfer” of its payments and further prohibits the payments from being subject to “legal process.”
Allocatur granted Sept. 3, 2019. Does the Mental Health Procedures Act, 50 P.S. §§ 7101-7503, apply to voluntary outpatient treatment?
The Supreme Court granted allocatur in this case to determine whether the MHPA applies to voluntary outpatient treatment.
May 21, 2020
Allocatur granted Sept. 11, 2019. Irrevocable Trusts: Termination pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. § 7736 for fraud
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur in this case to consider the standard for termination of a trust pursuant to 20 Pa.C.S. § 7736 when a party seeks to rescind an irrevocable trust that was induced by fraud.
Allocatur granted Aug. 6, 2019. Violation of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act; Restitution for Indirect Financial Gain; Conflict of Interest Exception
The Supreme Court will consider whether a Township Supervisor’s participation in verifying Township payroll records for Township employees, including his son, constituted a prohibited conflict of interest in violation of Section 1103(a) of the Ethics Act and whether restitution may be ordered for an ethics violation where the individual who obtained financial gain was not a public official, but an immediate family member.
Allocatur granted Sept. 2019. Child Protective Services Law; Right to a Hearing Contesting Founded Report Based on Facts Not Adjudicated
The Supreme Court granted allocatur in this sealed case involving an issue of first impression: whether an alleged perpetrator is entitled to an evidentiary hearing under the Child Protective Services Law on a founded report based on an ARD proceeding.
Allocatur granted Sept. 24, 2019. Right to Know Law: Attorney Fees following Commonwealth Court’s Bad Faith Determination
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur in these combined cases to consider whether the Commonwealth Court’s award of attorneys’ fees based on an agency’s bad faith in responding to a RTKL request was proper.
Allocatur granted Sept. 4, 2019. Constitutionality of Lack of Right to Redemption under the Real Estate Tax Sale Law
The Supreme Court will consider whether exclusion of a post-sale right to redemption under the tax sale law for less populous (second class-A through eighth) counties violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution and Article III of the Pennsylvania Constitution in light of the inclusion of a post-sale right of redemption clause in the tax sale law of more populous (first and second class) counties.
Allocatur granted June 27, 2019. Strict Liability under Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law’s Catchall Provision
The Supreme Court will hear argument on whether a strict liability standard should apply to a claim under the “catch-all” provision of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.
May 27, 2020
Allocatur granted Oct. 30, 2019. Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL)
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur to consider two issues of first impression under Pennsylvania’s UTPCPL: the Commonwealth’s ability to sue oil and gas lessees on behalf of landowners for deceptive practices and for violation of antitrust law.
Allocatur granted Nov. 6, 2019. Is a Civil Contempt Action a “Civil Proceeding” for Purposes of the Dragonetti Act?; Standing
The Supreme Court will consider whether a civil contempt action is a “civil proceeding” as contemplated by the Dragonetti Act and whether an attorney has standing to assert a cause of action under the Dragonetti Act when she was counsel for a party, but not a party, to the underlying civil action.
Allocatur granted Sept. 24, 2019. Liability for drug delivery resulting in death where delivery of drugs occurred out of state but death occurred in Pennsylvania
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur to consider questions relating to whether a drug delivery that occurred out of state resulting in a death in Pennsylvania may be a basis for a drug delivery resulting in death (DDRD) conviction.
Commonwealth v. Davis, 207 A.3d 341 (Pa. Super. 2019), appeal docket 49 MAP 2019 (to be argued consecutively with Commonwealth v. Lehman involving a similar cost of prosecution issue)
Allocatur granted June 25, 2019. Costs of Prosecution for Resentencing under 16 P.S. § 1403
The Supreme Court will hear argument on whether costs relating to re-sentencing, constitute “costs of prosecution and trial” under 16 P.S. § 1403.
Commonwealth v. Lehman, 201 A.3d 1279 (Pa. Super. 2019), appeal docket 47 MAP 2019 (to be argued consecutively with Commonwealth v. Davis involving a similar cost of prosecution issue)
Allocatur granted June 25, 2019. Costs of Prosecution for Contested Expert Testimony in Contested Resentencing under 16 P.S. § 1403
The Supreme Court will consider whether costs relating to contested expert testimony in a contested resentencing constitute costs of prosecution under 16 P.S. §1403, and are ineligible for imposition upon a defendant reimbursement as part of a sentence as a matter of law.
Allocatur granted Sept. 11, 2019. Does a gag order prohibiting a parent from speaking publicly about a child custody case violate the constitutional right to free speech?
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur to consider whether a gag order issued in a child custody case violates a parent’s constitutional right to free speech because the order precludes the parent and attorneys from speaking publicly about the case in a manner that would identify the child involved.
Allocatur granted Feb. 4, 2019. Attorney-client Privilege; Administration of Trusts.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur to determine whether attorney-client privilege and work product doctrines protect communications between a trustee and counsel from discovery by beneficiaries.