Jury Finds Phoenixville Hospital Nurses Negligent, Awards Family $32.8M

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WEST CHESTER, PA — A Chester County Court jury awarded $32.8 million to a young North Coventry girl who was born with brain damage at Phoenixville Hospital, finding negligence on the part of two nurses who were attending her pregnant mother.

The verdict came late Friday after the panel of eight men and four women deliberated more than nine hours in the case of Lily Ciechoski, who suffers from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. The jury found that the nurses had improperly failed to alert the girl’s mother’s doctor about a drastic change in the baby’s heart rate for 13 minutes during labor.

That failure and other delays in the delivery caused the baby to suffer the brain damage she now struggles with, said her attorney Jason Archinaco of the Pittsburgh law firm of Archinaco Bracken.

“I compare it to an airplane going into a nose dive for 13 minutes and no one telling the pilot,” Archinaco said in an interview Wednesday.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140122/jury-finds-phoenixville-hospital-nurses-negligent-awards-family-328m

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Centralia Residents Free To Stay After Settling Suit Against State

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Columbia County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Columbia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All they ever wanted was to be left alone, free to live out their lives in the central Pennsylvania coal town whose population had fled an underground mine fire.

After 20 years, the residents of Centralia have finally gotten their wish.

A lengthy battle over eminent domain culminated this week when eight residents settled their lawsuit against state officials who had been trying to evict them from their condemned homes – the only homes left standing after most of this Columbia County town was razed in the 1980s due to a still-burning coal-mine fire.

The settlement, notice of which was filed in U.S. District Court, allows the residents to stay in their homes for as long as they live. It also includes a cash payout of $349,500.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=517872

OJR School Board Settles Lawsuit By Ex-Superintendent Myra Forrest

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SOUTH COVENTRY TOWNSHIP, PA—The Owen J. Roberts School Board has closed a lengthy legal chapter by approving a settlement agreement with former Superintendent Myra Forrest.

The agreement puts an end to a legal battle that spanned four years, following Forrest’s 2009 termination.  Forrest had filed a suit with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, seeking damages, although an amount was never made public.  Defendants in the case were the Owen J. Roberts School District, the school board and five former board members.

The matter had been scheduled to go to trial several times, but was postponed each time.  A settlement agreement was reached in June and the case was formally dismissed by the court last month.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement and release, Forrest was given $315,000, to be paid by the district’s insurance company.  That money is intended to cover losses and damages “related to the lawsuit, the superintendent’s contract and/or the employment relationship, or (Forrest’s) separation from her employment and affiliation with defendants,” the language of the agreement states.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20130917/ojr-school-board-settles-lawsuit-by-ex-superintendent-myra-forrest

Wilkes-Barre Employee Claims Retaliation By City

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SCRANTON, PA — A Wilkes-Barre paramedic said the city “fabricated” a disciplinary hearing against him in retaliation for his suing to expose what he considers insider trading in the sale of city properties and ethics violations.

Tyler Hammond filed a second lawsuit Friday in U.S. Middle District Court, saying the actions of the city and Mayor Tom Leighton are meant to deter him from exercising his constitutional right to access the courts and engage in free speech.

Hammond and his wife Antonia sued the city in 2009, alleging the mayor, who also is a real estate agent, had access to and free use of confidential city information about properties in Wilkes-Barre, including the former Old River Road Bakery.  he city approved — and later terminated — a deal to sell the property to Leo A. Glodzik III, who had the exclusive towing contract with Wilkes-Barre until theft charges were filed against him in May.  The property was sold and Harrold’s Pharmacy is in the process of relocating there.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/814747/W-B-employee-claims-retaliation-by-city

Man Exonerated In Fayette County Double Killing After 27 Years Sues Prosecutors, Investigator

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Fayette County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Fayette County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Freed after a quarter-century in prison following what federal judges called “a badly tainted and highly suspect conviction” for the Bear Rocks killings, David Joseph Munchinski has sued the men who prosecuted him and is asking that the state pay eight figures to make up for his lost time.

“Fair is fair,” said Mr. Munchinski’s longtime attorney, Noah Geary, on Wednesday after filing the lawsuit Tuesday night. “The man did 27 years wrongfully, and it’s time to do the right thing.”

The lawsuit names as defendants three former prosecutors, two of whom are now senior judges on the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas, plus the estate of a late state trooper. But its target is the commonwealth, as it claims the four men were acting as state agents and adds that their actions have been defended by the Office of the Attorney General during a decade of litigation.

“I think it’s eight figures,” Mr. Geary said of Mr. Munchinski’s claim for economic, psychological and punitive damages.  He said he hopes the state will settle.  Otherwise, “it would be up to a federal jury.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-south/man-exonerated-in-fayette-county-double-killing-after-27-years-sues-prosecutors-investigator-701937/#ixzz2e2NUR7JV

Montco Mansion Conflict May Finally Be Settled

Location of Lower Merion Township in Montgomer...

Location of Lower Merion Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A decadelong legal battle over the historic 44-acre Maybrook estate in Lower Merion Township could, at long litigation last, be nearing an end.

This week, the Narberth Borough Council voted, 6-0, to accept a settlement with Merloc Partners, the property’s owner, that would end the lawsuit.

If a Montgomery County Court judge signs off on it and the township gives the development plan its final blessing, Merloc can proceed to build a complex of 250 apartments on the property near the Wynnewood train station.

“It’s a great thing to clean the slate and have no litigation,” Narberth Solicitor Marc Jonas said. “This could have been another four or five years of litigation.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20130816_Montco_mansion_conflict_may_finally_be_settled.html#2zWeReZbZuKHFlwJ.99

Birdsboro Water Authority Loses Rate Case Brought By Frank McLaughlin

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BIRDSBORO — Convicted water thief Frank McLaughlin won a victory in court last week when a judge agreed with his claim that the water bills he was paying to the Birdsboro Water Authority for two apartment buildings he owns could not be justified.

On July 1, District Judge David E. Glass ruled in favor of McLaughlin in two claims he filed in March, writing in both decisions that “it appears that the authority has arbitrarily assigned rates to apartment complexes that are neither reasonable nor fair.”

Noting that he never received a report explaining how the authority calculates those rates, he wrote “trying to understand the published Birdsboro Water and Sewer Authority rate structure is like trying to find a snapper turtle in a muddy pond.”

Glass further noted in his decision that “the water and sewer authority’s appeal process is flawed” advising both McLaughlin and the authority that “it would serve both sides across the aisle to remember more is accomplished with honey than vinegar.”

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130707/NEWS01/130709519/birdsboro-water-authority-loses-rate-case-brought-by-water-thief#full_story

Feds Investigating McDonald’s Franchise Over Payroll Debit Cards

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Federal investigators are looking into whether a McDonald’s franchise in Luzerne County is breaking any laws by forcing employees to accept paychecks in the form of fee-carrying debit cards.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the franchise owners say the lawsuit’s contention that employees incur fees on all transactions is wrong and there are several ways workers could access their money for free.

Attorney Michael Cefalo of West Pittson recently filed the class action lawsuit in Luzerne County Court on behalf of Natalie Gunshannon, a Dallas Township woman who quit her job at the McDonald’s in Shavertown after the company issued her a debit card as pay and refused to pay her by check or direct deposit.

Days after the suit was filed and appeared nationally in the media, Cefalo said an investigator with the U.S. Department of Labor contacted his law office.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-mcdonalds-lawsuit-feds-20130623,0,517504.story#ixzz2X4dg5GQZ 
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Lawyers Slam Demolition Work At Center City Philadelphia Collapse Site

PHILADELPHIA – Attorneys for four people suing over the collapse of a downtown building that killed six people last week lambasted the demolition work after surveying the site Sunday.

Lawyers and consultants walked gingerly on piles of debris, indicating to photographers and videographers what they wanted documented. Meanwhile, other consultants on a hoist far above scanned the site where a four-story building under demolition gave way and toppled onto an attached Salvation Army thrift store Wednesday, killing two employees and four customers and injuring 13 others.

Afterward, attorney Robert Mongeluzzi, who said his firm represents three plaintiffs in lawsuits against the property owner and contractor, said his initial examination indicated that the building that collapsed had brick-bearing walls and wooden girders without steel support and should have been demolished by hand rather than using heavy equipment. In addition, he said, the backhoe appeared to not be high enough to pull the wall down on the side away from the thrift store.

“Of course, a demolition from the top down by hand would have been much more time-consuming and expensive but was really the only way to get this done safely,” he said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130609_ap_lawyersslamdemolitionworkatpacollapsesite.html#ibzXi0JbVdKrHgE2.99

Amish Experience Halts ‘Amish Mafia Tour’ After Legal Threat

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hold on chust a minute: “Amish Mafia” fans won’t get to see Lebanon Levi’s “office” or his crew of enforcers’ stomping grounds after all.

Producers of the hit “reality” show have threatened legal action against Bird-in-Hand-based The Amish Experience, which had plans for an extensive tour of the show’s local sites, beginning this month.

Many scenes for the Discovery Channel series — which just wrapped a second season of filming — were shot in Lancaster County.  The tour, its organizer said, would have included a behind-the-scenes glimpse of filming locations while debunking the show’s portrayal of a group of violent Amish protectors.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/847682_Amish-Experience-halts–Amish-Mafia-Tour–after-legal-threat.html#ixzz2Sv2jfUcK

Norristown Municipal Administrator Responds To ACLU Lawsuit

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN — Norristown is standing by its rental license ordinance as it is written and declared in a statement that in no way does it “discriminate against any persons, nor does it punish victims of domestic violence.”

The Norristown ordinance penalizes landlords and encourages them to evict their tenants when the police are called to a property three times in four months for “disorderly behavior,” including responding to incidents of domestic violence, according to the federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Wednesday.

“The ordinance provision currently in effect contains all of the constitutional due process provisions required to protect the residents of Norristown,” said Norristown Municipal Adminstrator

 in the statement released Thursday, “explicitly stating that no property shall be condemned for any reason under Norristown’s property maintenance code based on occurrences of disorderly behavior, and stating that no tenant shall be evicted or forced to vacate a rental dwelling for violation of the ordinance provision.”

Read more:  http://www.timesherald.com/article/20130426/NEWS01/130429637/norristown-municipal-administrator-responds-to-aclu-lawsuit#full_story

Retailers, Consumers Take Swipe At Credit Card Surcharge

English: Old Visa logo.

English: Old Visa logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Charles Griesemer says there’s no way he would pay a fee to use his credit card at the gas pumps or in checkout lines, calling such a surcharge unfair.

“That would be ripping off the working man,” the Oley Township man said recently while gassing up his pickup truck. “I’d rather go to the bank and get cash.”

For those like Griesemer, who would balk at credit card fees, there is good and bad news.

The bad news is that credit card surcharges of up to 4 percent are now allowed on retail purchases in 40 states, thanks to a settlement retailers reached in July with MasterCard and Visa.

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=453496

Bank Sues Scranton, Parking Authority And Receiver Over Loan Default

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Landmark Community Bank on Friday sued Scranton, its parking authority and the authority’s court-appointed receiver over a $2.6 million loan default.

Landmark loaned the Scranton Parking Authority $2.9 million in September 2011, but the SPA has not paid on the loan since the authority was stripped last year of most of its functions, funding and power.

The lawsuit was not unexpected because Landmark’s attorney, Robert Gownley, last year threatened to sue if Scranton City Council terminated a 1995 cooperation agreement between the city and SPA that was used as the basis for collateral and security of the 2011 loan.  The Landmark loan was secured by the 10 percent of parking meter revenue that SPA receives under the 1995 cooperation agreement.

The lawsuit claims that city administration solicitor Paul Kelly, who at the time the loan was made in 2011 was solicitor for both the city and SPA, had told Landmark that the city could not unilaterally cancel the cooperation agreement between the city and authority.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/bank-sues-scranton-parking-authority-and-receiver-over-loan-default-1.1442049

Yuengling Fights Back Over Philly Lawsuit

After D.G. Yuengling and Son became the biggest American-owned brewery, the Pottsville company celebrated last year with a “Here’s to you, Philly,” promotion during which it offered a free serving of its signature lager to bar patrons around Philadelphia.

The company said beer drinkers in the City of Brotherly Love helped revive the popularity of its historic brand, which has become one of the fastest-growing brews in the country.

So it seems fitting that the company’s fifth-generation owner, Dick Yuengling, said he was “the happiest guy in the beer business” until he found out the city he chose to celebrate his company’s success with has slapped the brewery with a lawsuit seeking more than $6 million.

The lawsuit stems from a disagreement between the city and Yuengling about whether the company has to pay Philadelphia’s business income and receipts tax, which is assessed on companies doing business in the city.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-yuengling-fires-back-20130207,0,3754013.story

Philly Says Yuengling Owes $6.6 Million In Taxes

English: Finished bottles of Traditional Lager...

English: Finished bottles of Traditional Lager being placed into cases at Yuengling Brewery, Pottsville, PA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WHEN Dick Yuengling bought a round of beers for more than 10,000 Philadelphians on National Drink Beer Day last year, he said “the city has truly shown our family business brotherly love, and we’d like to raise a glass to that.”

Now, Dick Yuengling may be throwing back a few of his own brews after receiving a civil lawsuit from the city that claims his brewery, D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc., has failed to pay more than $6.6 million in city taxes, interest and penalty fees.

How does a Pottsville-based beer company that doesn’t have a brewery or a plant in Philadelphia come to owe millions in business-income and receipts taxes to the city?

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/city/20130205_City_says_Yuengling_owes__6_6_million_in_taxes.html

Keeping Lid On Lawsuits Carries Big Price Tag For Reading

Reading has been busy in court the last few years, but its track record has been pretty good.

It has resolved 139 suits brought against it since 2004, with no payout to plaintiffs in two-thirds of them. The cost for its attorneys was more than $1 million.

At the moment, the city has more than 70 cases under way in county, state and federal courts, or in agencies such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

“It’s tough keeping track (of the cases), but the attorneys handling them do a good job of it, and keep me in the loop,” said Charles D. Younger, city solicitor since 2000.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=446351

Suit: Penthouse Club Stripper Ruptured Man’s Bladder At Bachelor Party

English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighti...

Editor’s note:  Here’s something you don’t see everyday!

The “bachelor’s package” at the Penthouse Club in Port Richmond includes an invitation onstage and doting attention from the dancers.

But for one Montgomery County man, it also came with internal bleeding, according to a lawsuit filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court last week.

Patrick Gallagher of Lansdale claims a dancer slid down a stripper pole and landed on him with such force that his bladder ruptured.

The incident occurred in late November 2010, when Gallagher visited the club on Castor Avenue near Balfour Street with friends to celebrate his impending marriage, said his attorney, Neil T. Murray.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20121004_Suit__Penthouse_Club_stripper_ruptured_mans_bladder_at_bachelor_party.html

Fired Administrators Sue Reading School District For More Than $150,000 In Damages

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A group of administrators suddenly fired in April by the Reading School District has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $150,000 in damages.

The administrators claim the district violated the terms of their employment contracts by not providing 30 days’ notice before terminating the contracts.

After a series of retirements and resignations of several top administrators following the 2010-11 school year, the district found itself in need of a leadership team.  The district turned to a group of retired administrators who had been working with the district through the state’s Distinguished Educator Program.

The district hired several administrators, including acting superintendent J. Drue Miles, on a temporary basis.  They were asked to lead the district for up to a year, or at least until the district was able to permanently fill the slots.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=412251

Former “Beverly Hillbillies” Star Donna Douglas Settles Lawsuit

English: Publicity photo of Buddy Ebsen and Ir...

Image via Wikipedia

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The actress who played Elly May Clampett on the “The Beverly Hillbillies,” toymaker Mattel Inc. and CBS Consumer Products Inc. have settled a lawsuit that claimed the companies didn’t get the actress’ approval to use her name and likeness for a Barbie doll.

Read more: http://tv.msn.com/tv/article.aspx?news=692512&affid=100055

Penn State Child Abuse Scandal Fallout Continues

The fallout at Penn State continues.

In addition to Jerry Sandusky, JoePa, Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, Mike McQueary and Graham Spanier, you can add Second Mile charity CEO Jack Raykovitz to the growing cast of characters.  Mr. Raykovitz resigned Sunday after 28 years at the helm.  So far all the victims were boys in the Second Mile program.  Second Mile has retained Philadelphia law firm Archer & Greiner as its counsel.

Mike McQueary, on paid administrative leave, is apparently consulting with the Harrisburg law firm of Strokoff and Cowden, who specialize in employment law.  McQueary received death threats and is reportedly in hiding.  

McQueary is being handled differently than the others because he is a witness in the case and he also may fall under Pennsylvania’s whistleblower law.  The law includes protection for the whistleblower against firing, demotion or punishment.  McQueary’s status under this law is still being determined.