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: http://www.pacourts.us/courts/supreme-court/october-2020-supreme-court-session.
Oct. 20, 2020
Allocatur granted March 2, 2020. Cover-ups of Pedophile Clergy Members; Tolling of Statute of Limitations; Secondary Cause of Action for Civil Conspiracy
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether, in light of Pennsylvania precedent, tolling the statute of limitations is appropriate in cases of systematic cover-ups of pedophile clergy members based on the discovery rule and fraudulent-concealment, and in rejecting the tolling theories, whether a viable claim of civil conspiracy remains where a cause of action to remedy the primary cause of harm is time-barred.
Allocatur granted Jan. 28, 2020. Statute of Limitations; Tolling for Post-Occurrence Malpractice
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear argument on whether the statute of limitations tolls when an attorney continues to represent a client following the occurrence of legal malpractice.
Allocatur granted Apr. 1, 2020. Terroristic Threats, 18 Pa.C.S. § 2706(a); “True Threat” not within Scope of First Amendment Protection
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider, as a matter of first impression, whether, in the context of the special circumstances for threats made in a school setting, a threat made with reckless disregard for the risk of causing terror in the listener constitutes a “true threat” not entitled to First Amendment protection.
Allocatur granted March 3, 2020. Driving While Operating Privilege Suspended (DUS); Refusal of Blood Test; Sentence for First Time DUS Conviction Exceeding 90 Days
In this case, the Supreme Court will resolve whether the offense of Driving While Operating Privilege Suspended, 75 Pa.C.S. § 1543(b)(1.1)(i), is unconstitutional because refusal to submit to a warrantless blood test increases the punishment for the offense. Additionally, the court will consider whether the failure to provide for a maximum penalty renders the statute unconstitutionally vague such that any sentence above 90 days violates state and federal due process.
Oct. 21, 2020
Allocatur granted Apr. 7, 2020. Calculation of Public Utility DSIC Rates: What Was the Legislative Intent?
In this case the Supreme Court will consider whether the PUC must include in the DSIC rate adjustment income tax deductions and credits related to DSIC infrastructure investments to reduce rates.
Allocatur granted June 8, 2020. Interlocutory Appeal as of Right based on Hung Jury
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether Pa. R.A.P. 311(a)(6) permits an interlocutory appeal as of right when the basis for a new trial is a hung jury.
Allocatur granted March 10, 2020. Waiver for Failure to File Preliminary Objections to Mechanic’s Lien
The Pennsylvania Supreme will 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 that expressly provides that a “failure to file an objection preliminarily shall not constitute a waiver of the right to raise the same as a defense in subsequent proceedings.” 49 P.S. §1505.
Allocatur granted June 10, 2020. PennDOT Denial of Camera Card Replacement
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether PennDOT could deny Linkosky’s camera card replacement application based on the Ohio license suspension that occurred after Pennsylvania had already granted his Pennsylvania license renewal by issuing the original camera card that Linkosky lost.
Allocatur granted Feb. 12, 2020. Admissibility of prior convictions of prostitution in sexual assault cases where consent is of issue
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear argument related to the admissibility of prior convictions of prostitution in sexual assault cases where consent is of issue.
Oct. 22, 2020
Allocatur granted Apr. 30, 2020. Necessity of Separate Legal Counsel in Termination of Parental Rights Proceeding
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear argument in this termination of parental rights case to determine whether the child’s appointed legal counsel who represented both the child’s best interests and the child’s legal interest failed to sufficiently inquire into the child’s preferred outcome in order to determine whether separate legal counsel was necessary to represent both interests.
Allocatur granted Apr. 14, 2020. Oil & Gas Leases; Cessation of Production; Lease Abandonment and Termination
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear argument on whether summary judgment was proper in this case involving a “drill or pay oil and gas lease” where a well on each parcel was drilled by Petitioner and pursuant to each lease the wells were productive, and no testimony was taken as to the Petitioner’s good faith production decision.
Allocatur granted June 1, 2020. Separate notices of Appeal at Each Trial Court Docket where Cases Consolidated
In this case, the Supreme Court will revisit its 2018 decision in Commonwealth. v. Walker, in which it adopted the bright-line rule, to be applied prospectively, that “when a single order resolves issues arising on more than one lower court docket, separate notices of appeal must be filed” for each case and “failure to do so will result in quashal of the appeal.” 185 A.3d 969, 979 (Pa. 2018).
Allocatur granted June 1, 2020. Standard for Expungement of Record of Involuntary Commitment under Mental Health Procedures Act
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether the development of a plan satisfies the requirement for an act in furtherance of a threat to kill a co-worker for purposes of an involuntary commitment under § 302 of the Mental Health Procedures Act.