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Three Things You Should Not Have to Worry About When You Hire a Capable Car Accident Attorney

June 18th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Car Accidents

If you have been in a car crash in Pennsylvania, you probably have lots of worries. Your first priority should be taking care of your injuries, but there are also worries about your financial situation and how the crash will affect your future and your family. You worry about paying your bills and your living costs, especially if the injury affects your ability to work and you no longer have a vehicle. Then there is the stress of dealing with insurance companies. What if you say something wrong and it damages your case? How do you know how much your settlement is worth and whether to agree to what the insurance company offers? You will want to know what underinsurance is. You will need to know if you have signed any waivers or sign-downs reducing your underinsurance coverage. You will need to know about the insurance coverage of the other driver or drivers. You will want to know whether the other driver who was at fault for the accident was at work and, if so, what levels of insurance may exist. The way to ease these worries and ensure you get the…

Your Doctor is Tired – It is a Public Health Crisis

May 22nd, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Medical Malpractice

Doctors are overworked, over-stressed, tired, and burning out -- it is affecting your health. Burned-out medical providers are often less productive and do not focus as well on the needs of their patients. Some reduce their work hours, putting added stress on those who have to cover their shifts and patients, and some leave the medical profession completely. None of this is good for patient care. According to a recent report from the Harvard Global Health Institute, frequent changes to health care environments and protocol have contributed to the increased rate of burnout to the point where there is a public health crisis that “urgently demands action.” The report cites findings from the Mayo Clinic showing that physicians who experience burnout are more likely to reduce their work hours or leave the profession altogether. How common is burnout? According to a 2018 survey by the Stanford University School of Medicine, 55 percent of physicians across the U.S. admitted to having symptoms of burnout, while 33 percent admitted to suffering from high levels of fatigue. If you or a loved one has suffered because of negligent care from a burned-out medical practitioner, you may be entitled…

FEDERAL ARBITRATION ACT-CLASS ARBITRATION-AMBIGUITY

May 3rd, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Arbitration

Lamps Plus, Inc., et al v. Varela, 2019 Supreme Court (April 24, 2019) Roberts, C.J.-The Federal Arbitration Act requires courts to enforce covered arbitration agreements according to their terms. See 9 U.S.C. §2. In Stolt-Nielsen, S.A. v. Animal Feeds Int’l Corp., 599 U.S. 662 (2010), we held that a court may not compel arbitration on a classwide basis when an agreement is “silent” on the availability of such arbitrations. Because class arbitration fundamentally changes the nature of the “traditional individualized arbitration” envisioned by the FAA, Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, 584 U.S. ___, ____ (2018) (slip op., at 8), “ a party may not be compelled under the FAA to submit to class arbitration unless there is a contractual basis for concluding that the party agreed to do so,” Stolt-Nielsen, 559 U.S., at 684 (emphasis in original). We now consider whether the FAA similarly bars an order requiring class arbitration when an agreement is not silent, but rather “ambiguous” about the availability of such arbitration. “[T]he first principle that underscores all of our arbitration decisions” is that “[a]rbitration is strictly a matter of consent.” Granite Rock Co. v. Teamsters, 561…

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW-FIRST AMENDMENT-SPEECH-GAY RIGHTS

May 1st, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Constitutional Law

Fulton v. City of Phila., 3rd Cir. 2019 LEXIS 11711 (April 22, 2019)-A reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer informed the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services in March 2018 that two of its agencies would not work with same-sex couples as foster parents. Human Services investigated this allegation, which it considered a violation of the City’s anti-discrimination laws. When the agencies confirmed that, because of their religious views on marriage, they would not work with gay couples, Human Services ceased referring foster children to them. One of those agencies, Catholic Social Services (sometimes abbreviated “CSS”), brought this action claiming that the city has violated its rights under the First Amendment’s Free Exercise, Establishment, and Free Speech Clauses, as well as under Pennsylvania’s Religious Freedom Protection Act. It seeks an order requiring the City to renew their contractual relationship while permitting it to turn away same-sex couples who wish to be foster parents. CSS sought preliminary injunctive relief to this effect from the District Court. When it denied the request after a three-day hearing, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, 320 F. Supp. 3d 661 (E.D. Pa. 2018), CSS appealed. Our…

Fewer Patients, Better Care? Proposed Bill Seeks to Limit Patient-to-Nurse Ratio.

May 1st, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Death

Tennessee medical malpractice
Seriously ill patients in hospitals depend on competent nursing care when needed; but when there is a shortage of nurses and they are overworked and exhausted, the result is risk to patient safety and their lives. To prevent these problems, there is now a proposed Congressional bill, House Bill 867, that would limit the number of patients Pennsylvania nurses can care for at one time. The bill bases the nurse-to-patient ratio on the type of hospital unit, with a 1:2 or fewer ratio proposed for intensive care units and a 1:4 or fewer ratio for emergency departments. Advocates of the bill cite the ratio mandate already in California, which has proven to be cost-effective, produce better health outcomes and create openings for job-seeking nurses.   The hospital industry opposes the legislation, arguing that there is not enough research to support it, there are not enough nurses to meet the lower ratio, and that staffing mandates would force facilities to close. Nurses disagree and have appealed to the House committee, saying that having too many patients leads to making mistakes and giving poor care. They believe that better nurse/patient ratios dramatically improve safety…

ARBITRATION-NURSING HOME-AGENCY OR AUTHORITY TO SIGN

April 30th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Arbitration

McIlwain v. Saber Healthcare Grp., Inc., LLC. 2019 Pa. Super. (April 22, 2019) Colins, J.-The UAGPPJA provides two ways that an out-of-state guardianship/conservatorship can be recognized in Pennsylvania. Section 5922 provides for a transfer of the jurisdiction of the guardianship from another state into Pennsylvania. Section 5931 provides for an out-of-state guardian/conservator to register its guardianship/conservatorship order in Pennsylvania. “The FAA… does not require parties to arbitration when they have not agreed to do so.” E.C.O.C. v. Waffle House, Inc., 534 U.S. 279, 293, 122 S. Ct. 754, 151 L. Ed. 2d 755 (2002) (citation omitted). “Despite national and state policies favoring arbitration, a party cannot be compelled to arbitrate in the absence of a valid agreement to do so under either Pennsylvania law or the [FAA].” Washburn v. Northern Health Facilities, Inc., 2015 Pa. Super. 168, 121 A.3d 1008, 1015-6 (Pa. Super. 2015) (citation omitted). “The [FAA] requires courts to place arbitration agreements on equal footing with all other contracts.” Kindred Nursing Centers Limited Partnership v. Clark, 137 S. Ct. 1421, 1424, 197 L. Ed. 2d 806 (2017) (citation omitted). “[T]he existence of an arbitration does not require the…

CIVIL RIGHTS-SEX DISCRIMINATION-SWIMMING POOLS RULES

April 30th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Civil Rights

Marie Curto, Diana Lusardi, Steve Lusardi v. A Country Place Condominium Association, Inc.2019 3rd Cir. 2019 (April 22, 2019) Ambro, C.J.-Marie Curto wanted to swim with her family after work. Steve Lusardi wanted to swim with his wife, who had disabilities after a series of strokes and needed pool therapy to recover. But they lived a A Country Place, and its Condominium Association had adopted rules segregating use of the communal pool by sex. By 2016 over two-thirds of all swimming hours throughout the week were sex-segregated. After they were fined for violating this policy, Curto and the Lusardis sued, alleging violations of the federal Fair Housing Act (sometimes referred to as the “FHA”), 42 U.S.C. §§3601 et seq., and New Jersey state law. The District Court granted summary judgment to the Condominium Association because, in its words, “the gender-segregated schedule applies to men and women equally.” Curto v. A Country Place Condominium Assoc., 2018 WL 638749, at 4 (D.N.J. 2018). We disagree. On the facts before us, the pool schedule discriminates against women in violation of the FHA. We need not determine whether sex-segregated swimming hours necessarily violate the…

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW-FIRST TERM-THE NUMBER RIGHTS-FREEDOM TO ASSOCIATE

April 23rd, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Constitutional Law

Adams v. Governor of Del. 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 10618 (April 10, 2019) Fuentes, J.-James R. Adams is a resident and a member of the State Bar of Delaware. For some time, he has expressed a desire to be considered for a judicial position in that state. Following the announcement of several judicial vacancies, Adams considered applying but ultimately chose not to because the announcement requires that the candidate be a Republican. Because Adams was neither a Republican nor a Democrat, he concluded that any application he submitted would be futile. Adams brings this suit against the Governor of the State of Delaware to challenge the provision of the Delaware Constitution that effectively limits service on state courts to members of the Democratic and Republican parties. Adams claims that under the Supreme Court’s precedent in Elrod v. Burns and Branti v. Finkel, a provision that limits a judicial candidate’s freedom to associate (or not to associate) with the political party of his or her choice is unconstitutional. The Governor argues that because judges are policymakers, there are no constitutional restraints on his hiring decisions and he should be free to…

What the “Truck Driver Shortage” in PA Says About the Trucking Industry

April 17th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Truck Accidents

Truck Driver Shortage
The trucking industry is hurting, causing problems for all motorists. There is a shortage of truck drivers across the country; and while it might seem that fewer trucks on the road should lead to fewer accidents, the result is the opposite.  In Pennsylvania, as well as other states, the high demand for truckers means that drivers who are less experienced and less qualified are being hired, which can lead to an increased number of crashes. Truck drivers and the motor carriers that hire them have a responsibility to follow the rules to keep our highways safe.  They must drive carefully and avoid problems caused by driver fatigue, driver failure due to health issues, alcohol and drugs, and vehicle failure due to improperly maintained or neglected maintenance. However, the shortage of truck drivers means some new employees are not as well trained or vigilant. This situation makes our highways more dangerous, as any crash involving large trucks is likely to be devastating and result in serious injuries or death. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 3,986 people died in large truck crashes in 2016. If you or a loved one…

NEGLIGENCE-SLIP AND FALL-MEDICAL EXPERT

April 17th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Negligence

Wright v. Residence Inn by Marriott 2019 Pa. Super LEXIS 330 (April 9, 2019) Kunselman, J.-Superior Court reversed trial court in refusing to admit plaintiff’s sole medical expert. The objection to the testimony was that plaintiff’s expert was precluded because the case was so specialized. Marriott argued the doctor was not sufficiently qualified in orthopedic surgery since he was simply an internist. The doctor who was plaintiff’s expert practiced for 37 years and rotated through all specialties including orthopedic surgery. He had been on the staff of at least two hospitals. He had been qualified previously. It was prejudice to not let him testify. The case was sent back for trial. 

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