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RICO-RACKETEERING ACTIVITY COMMITTED ABROAD

October 17th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Miscellaneous

Humphrey v. GlaxoSmithKline PLC, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27443 (September 26, 2018) McKee, J.  Section 1964(c) of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968, creates a private right of action for a plaintiff that “is injured in his (or her) business or property” as a result of conduct that is proscribed by the statute. In RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. European Community, the Supreme Court determined that, although a litigant may file a civil suit against parties for racketeering activity committed abroad, § 1964(c)’s private right of action is only available to a litigant that can “allege and prove a domestic injury to its business or property.” In this case of first impression for this court, we must decide whether Plaintiffs pled sufficient facts to establish that they suffered a domestic injury under § 1964(c). For the reasons that follow, we will affirm the District Court’s judgment that they have not. 

UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES AND CONSUMER PROTECTION LAW-NURSING HOMES-MISLEADING STATEMENTS

October 17th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Miscellaneous

Commonwealth v Golden Gate Nat’l Senior Care, LLC, 2018 Supreme Court of PA LEXIS 5018 (September 25, 2018) Donohue, J. The Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”), on behalf of the Commonwealth, filed suit against more than two dozen nursing homes and their parent companies (collectively, “Appellees), alleging violations of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, 73 Pa. C.S. §§ 201-1-201-9.3 (“UTPCPL”), and unjust enrichment. Upon consideration of Appellees’ preliminary objections, the Commonwealth Court dismissed the claims and this appeal followed. For the reasons discussed herein, we find that the dismissal of the UTPCPL claim was improper, but the dismissal of the unjust enrichment claim was proper because the claim was filed prematurely. Accordingly, we reverse the Commonwealth Court’s order and remand for further proceedings. Appellees are individual nursing homes located throughout Pennsylvania as well as their affiliated companies and parent entities. On July 1, 2015, the OAG filed a complaint and petition for injunctive relief in the Commonwealth Court’s original jurisdiction alleging violations of the UTPCPL and unjust enrichment. The complaint named the Parent Companies and fourteen Facilities. Following the filing of preliminary objections, the OAG filed…

FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT-THREAT OF REPORT TO INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE

October 17th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Miscellaneous

Schultz v Midland Credit Mgmt., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS (September 24, 2018), Vanaskie, J.  The question before us in this matter is whether a statement in a debt collection letter to the effect that forgiveness of the debt may be reported to the Internal Revenue Service constitutes a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et. seq. The District Court concluded that the statement found in dunning letters sent by Appellee Midland Credit Management, Inc., (“Midland”) to Appellants Robert A. Schultz, Jr. and hi wife, Donna (the “Schultzes”) could not constitute a violation of the FDCPA, and dismissed their putative class action complaint. We disagree, and hold that the statement in question may violate the FDCPA. Accordingly we will reverse the dismissal of this action and remand for further proceedings. 

The Deadliest Times on Pennsylvania’s Roads

October 16th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Car Accidents, Personal Injury

The Deadliest Times on Pennsylvania's Roads
When you take your car on the road, there is always a chance that you could be involved in a crash, no matter what the time of day or year. According to a 2015 report by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), there were more than 127,000 auto accidents in 2014 which caused the deaths of 1,200 people, while another 80,004 were injured. Those who survive a crash can wind up with serious injuries such as whiplash, neck injuries, and paralysis that can maim, disfigure, and cause pain and suffering that may last a lifetime. Still, there are times when it is more dangerous to drive than others and when motorists should take extra safety precautions. IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE WAS INJURED OR SOMEONE HAS DIED IN A VEHICLE CRASH IN PENNSYLVANIA, YOU SHOULD CONSULT AN EXPERIENCED PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER SUCH AS CLIFF RIEDERS OF RIEDERS, TRAVIS, HUMPHREY, WATERS & DOHRMANN, REGARDING YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS.  If another party’s negligence or responsibility was involved in the accident, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation to cover your medical, hospital and therapy expenses, lost wages, property loss, disfigurement, and loss…

FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT-DISCRETIONARY FUNCTION TEST-INMATE HOUSING ISSUES

October 11th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Miscellaneous

Appellant Michael Rinaldi, who at all relevant times was an inmate in custody at United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg (“Lewisburg” or the “Institution”), appeals the District Court’s dismissal of his complaint alleging that the conduct of various personnel violated his constitutional and statutory rights. His appeal requires us to resolve three matters of first impression for our Court: (1) what showing an inmate must make to establish that administrative remedies were not “available” within the meaning of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”); (2) whether the PLRA’s exhaustion requirement is satisfied where a prison administrator elects to resolve a procedurally improper administrative request on the merits; and (3) whether a prison’s housing and cellmate assignments meet the discretionary function exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act’s limited waiver of sovereign immunity. For the reasons that follow, we will affirm the District Court’s dismissal of Rinaldi’s complaint in part and will vacate and remand in part.  The court found the proper exhaustion in that the constitutional claims can go forward, but it also found that the discretionary right of prison authorities with respect to housing and to the Federal Tort Claims Act…

CIVIL RIGHTS ACT-IMMUNITY-QUALIFIED IMMUNITY-SEARCH OF EMPLOYEE’S EMAILS

October 11th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Civil Rights

Walker v. Coffey, 3d 2018 LEXIS 26684 (September 20, 2018) Roth, J.  Appellant Carol Lee Walker commenced this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. She alleges that Appellees—a prosecutor and a special agent employed by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General (OAG)—violated her Fourth Amendment right to be free from an unreasonable search when they used an invalid subpoena to induce Walker’s employer, Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), to produce her work emails. The District Court granted Appellees’ motion to dismiss, concluding that they were entitled to qualified immunity because Walker did not have a clearly established right to privacy in the content of her work emails. For the reasons stated below, we will affirm the dismissal of Walker’s § 1983 claim. We will vacate the District Court’s denial of Walker’s subsequent motion for leave to file a second amended complaint asserting claims under the Stored Communications Act (SCA), and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. As such, we would be hard put to find that Walker enjoyed a clearly established right to privacy in the content of her work emails. But because this case involves Walker’s…

PA Ranked 29th for Texting Teens

October 11th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Car Accidents, Personal Injury

PA Ranked 29th for Texting Teens
Texting while driving is a major cause of crashes; and teens, already inclined to take risks, are among the worst offenders. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania teens are worse than those in most other states for risky texting behavior. According to a study from the Journal of Adolescent Health that looked at teen texting while driving in the United States, our state ranked No. 29 out of the 35 states surveyed. The study found that 38 percent of the 200,000 teens surveyed reported texting while driving on at least one day; 22 percent reported texting while driving one to nine days; and 16 percent said they texted 10 to 30 days. The incidence of texting and driving rose sharply when kids legally drove unsupervised. It also is highest in states with a learner's permit age of 15 or younger. More than one in five students aged 14 or 15 reported driving before they were eligible for a learner’s permit, and one in six of these drivers had texted while driving. The rate doubled between ages 15 and 16 and continued to rise through age 17 and beyond, and white teens were more likely to…

INSURANCE-BAD FAITH-ATTORNEY’S FEES

October 10th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Insurance

Bernie Clemens, Nicole Clemens v. New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and/or NYCM Insurance Group and/or NYCM Holdings, Inc., 3d Cir. 2018 (Greenaway, Jr., J.  After a jury awarded him $100,000 in punitive damages under the Pennsylvania Bad Faith Statute, 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8371, Appellant Bernie Clemens submitted a petition for over $900,000 in attorney’s fees from Appellee New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance Company (“NYCM”). The District Court denied this petition in its entirety, reasoning that it was not adequately supported and that the requested amount was grossly excessive given the nature of the case. Finding no abuse of discretion, we will affirm and, in doing so, take the opportunity to formally endorse a view already adopted by several other circuits – that is, where a fee-shifting statute provides a court discretion to award attorney’s fees, such discretion includes the ability to deny a fee request altogether when, under the circumstances, the amount requested is “outrageously excessive.” Brown v. Stackler, 612 F.2d 1057, 1059 (7th Cir. 1980); see also, e.g., Envtl. Def. Fund, Inc. v. Reilly, 1 F.3d 1254, 1258-60 (D.C. Cir. 1993); Fair Hous. Council…

FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT-DISCRETIONARY FUNCTION TEST-INMATE HOUSING ISSUES

October 10th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Constitutional Law

Appellant Michael Rinaldi, who at all relevant times was an inmate in custody at United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg (“Lewisburg” or the “Institution”), appeals the District Court’s dismissal of his complaint alleging that the conduct of various personnel violated his constitutional and statutory rights. His appeal requires us to resolve three matters of first impression for our Court: (1) what showing an inmate must make to establish that administrative remedies were not “available” within the meaning of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”); (2) whether the PLRA’s exhaustion requirement is satisfied where a prison administrator elects to resolve a procedurally improper administrative request on the merits; and (3) whether a prison’s housing and cellmate assignments meet the discretionary function exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act’s limited waiver of sovereign immunity. For the reasons that follow, we will affirm the District Court’s dismissal of Rinaldi’s complaint in part and will vacate and remand in part.  The court found the proper exhaustion in that the constitutional claims can go forward, but it also found that the discretionary right of prison authorities with respect to housing and to the Federal Tort Claims Act…

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW-FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT-DUE PROCESS-ACCESS TO THE COURTS

October 10th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Constitutional Law

Jutrowski v. Twp. of Riverdale, 3d Cir. 2018 LEXIS 25806 (September 12, 2018) Krause, Jr.  This case arises from an undisputed constitutional violation: an act of excessive force committed during the arrest of Appellant Emil Jutrowski in which he was kicked in the face, breaking his eye socket. Appellees – consisting of two Riverdale, New Jersey Police Officers and two New Jersey State Troopers involved in the arrest (the “Individual Defendants”), and their respective employers, the Township of Riverdale and the State of New Jersey (collectively, the “Defendants”) – do not dispute that one of the officers kicked Jutrowski. But each of the Individual Defendants assert he neither inflicted the blow himself nor saw anyone else do so, and Jutrowski, whose face was pinned to the pavement when the excessive force occurred, is unable to identify his assailant. He therefore brought excessive force claims against all Defendants and conspiracy claims against the four Individual Defendants under 42 U.S.C.  § 1983. The District Court, however, relying on our precedent that a defendant in a civil rights action must have “personal involvement” in the alleged wrongs, Rode v Dellarciprete, 845 F.2d 1195,…

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