Digital Media

Videos


Recent Blog Posts

  • Same Sex Common Law Marriage Established by Superior Court Since the striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act by the United States Supreme Court, many state courts have been trying to fill in the legal vacuum created between the legality of same-sex marriage and the lack of codified law through legislation. Though many Courts of Common Pleas have taken on issues, it really requires good appellate decisions to establish precedential authority on an issue. This can take time since it requires the confluence of good facts applied to the... More
  • The Other Defendant: The Impact of Public Persona in a Custody Trial Child custody cases turn on the court’s determination of the child’s best interests.  As defined in Pennsylvania, this means having the judge apply evidence to Pennsylvania’s sixteen (16) custody factors and render a decision.  Evidence for a trial can come in a variety of ways and, with increasing frequency, the role of social media and public statements are among them.  Periodically, a case involving a public figure forces the courts to consider when an individual’s “public persona” or public statements... More
  • Modifying Unmodifiable Agreements A standard provision in most written agreements establishes that no modification of the agreement shall occur unless the parties do so in writing (and usually notarized to avoid fraud). Recently, however, I confronted the issue as to whether or not a party may make a valid oral modification of a provision of an agreement.  In other words, was the “all modifications in writing” provision of the agreement as ironclad as it appeared? The issue stemmed from the reimbursement of expenses related... More
  • Superior Court: Civil Unions Can Be Dissolved in Family Courts In what some may construe as an effort by the Pennsylvania Superior Court to salvage something positive out of 2016, an Opinion was issued today which effectively opens Pennsylvania’s family courts to dissolve out-of-state civil unions The matter of Neyman v. Buckley (No. 2203 EDA 2015) arose out of Philadelphia County.  The parties were attempting to have their 2002 Vermont civil union dissolved in the Philadelphia Family Court.  The trial court, however, dismissed the divorce complaint related to the civil union on... More
  • Equitable Distribution Orders are Not Judgments Recently, a case came before the Superior Court addressing the question as to whether a party has the right to charge interest on unpaid portions of an equitable distribution award. The basic facts are that husband and wife divorced and the recommendation of the master requiring husband to refinance a property and pay out wife was entered as an Order of Court. Under the terms of the order, if husband had not paid the cash by a certain date, wife... More
  • Facebook Antagonist Has Conviction Reinstated We’ve reported on the United States v. Elonis in the past. This case involved a Northampton County man who made a series of threats on his Facebook page directed at his estranged wife, his employer, and an FBI agent who came to investigate a threat he made to attack an elementary school. Elonis, in his defense, claimed that his posts were not, in fact, threats, but rap lyrics and forms of artistic expression. He was nonetheless charged with under 18 U.S.C.... More
  • Post on Social Media, Go to Jail – How a Facebook Post Violated a Court Order A recent criminal case addressed, in part, an issue we saw in the case of Elonis v. United States.  The Elonis case went to the U.S. Supreme Court which ultimately reversed the criminal conviction of a man based on statutory construction grounds that his Facebook postings did not offer the requisite mental intent to threaten the victim(s). The Supreme Court’s opinion did not  address any First Amendment rights, however. The case of Commonwealth v. Lambert, involved a Protection from Abuse Order entered against... More
  • Separation Does Not Equate Unfitness of a Parent My colleague, Mark Ashton, reported on the case of D.P. & B.P. v. G.J.P. & A.P., and identified how the Court’s opinion addressed on a limited basis how Section 3525(2) was, in part, unconstitutional by placing an unreasonable restriction on the parents to raise the children as they deem appropriate, including restricting the children’s exposure to their grandparents.  This decision left open many questions about what happens in circumstances other than separation of six months or more which will likely... More
  • No Lawyers Allowed – Discovery Rule Decision Bars Counsel from Observing Evaluation The Discovery Rules account for all manner of need for obtaining evidence. Many of these rules are seldom, if ever, utilized by family law attorneys because either they are not germane to a family law case; not permitted by the Divorce Code (i.e. prohibition against discovery in simple support cases), or; family court cases have their own procedure for obtaining the information. One example would be Discovery Rule 4010 which provides for the examination of a party where their mental or... More
  • Contempt Case Deemed Sufficient Notice for Custody Modification Since the child custody statute was updated in 2010, a considerable about of time and effort on the part of the Superior Court has been spent clarifying various aspects of the law. Among the more pertinent issues related to how the statute was to function is the trial court’s obligation to consider and opine on all of the custody factors. Previous appellate cases have shaped this requirement (or, conversely, the absence of the requirement) where “discrete” issues of custody are... More
  • Coaches and Schools Play Fast and Loose with Contracts Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo Leaving a job is easy – if not stressful – for almost the entire population: you leave on your own accord or are asked to leave by your employer. Some people have employment contracts which provide specific compensation or benefits upon separation; other people sign agreements with specific clauses which bar them from using their skills in a specific geographic location or directed at a certain clientele (aka, “non-compete clauses”).  Employment contracts are a powerful... More
  • Razorback Alex Collins: Chaotic Signing Day Leads to Productive College Career Since I wrote this post in February 2013, Alex Collins has weathered his mother’s attempt to keep him from enrolling at the University of Arkansas and become one of the best, if not perhaps the most underrated, running back in the country. Through eight games this year for a surprisingly competitive (they lost to Alabama 14-13 and beat Texas A&M 35-28) Razorbacks team, Alex has rushed for 747 yards on 118 carries (6.3 yards per carry) for scored 9 touchdowns.... More
  • Kluwe Kicks Dispute In Exchange For Charitable Donations Last week, former NFL punter Chris Kluwe and the Minnesota Vikings reached a settlement of Kluwe’s dispute with the team over what he characterized as the organization’s homophobic environment and release from the team due to his activism on behalf of marriage equality. Kluwe’s revelation of serious homophobic behavior and an institutional attempt to freeze him out of the team and, ultimately, his release created a firestorm of media coverage and an investigation into the behavior by special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer.  Kluwe... More
  • Punt, Pass, and Kicked Off The Team?: Potential Defamation Liabilities for Former Viking Chris KIuwe On January 6th, it was reported that former Minnesota Vikings punter, Chris Kluwe, retained legal counsel as the Vikings investigate allegations he made against the organization in his January 2nd Deadspin article.  His lawyer is there ostensibly to assist with the investigation the Vikings are conducting into his allegations.  Having read the Deadspin article and Kluwe’s allegations against former head coach, Leslie Frazier (“the Coward”), general manager, Rick Spielman (“the Coward”), and most critically, special teams coach Mike Priefer (“the... More