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10/17/2014 | Media

Kimberly L. Russell, Esquire, a principal in the Employment group, gave a presentation on Wednesday, October 1, 2014, to The Independence Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators. Her presentation covered the current laws governing ADA (American with Disabilities Act), FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act), Wage and Hour (exempt v. non-exempt classifications of employees), and EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), including hostile work environment. In her practice, Ms. Russell defends employers in all types of employment litigation including sex, age, race and disability discrimination claims, wrongful discharge, Family and Medical Leave, and wage claims.

Neil A. Stein, Esquire, a principal in the Land Use, Zoning & Development group, has been re-appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law. Mr. Stein will also be speaking at the PBI Land Use Institute in June, 2014. Mr. Stein has more than 30 years of experience representing real estate owners, developers, lenders and builders in complex land use, zoning, environmental and corporate matters.

We are pleased to announce that Craig Robert Lewis of the Land Use & Zoning Group has become a partner of the firm. Mr. Lewis’ practice focuses in the areas of land use, land development and zoning of both commercial and residential real estate. His practice involves representation of a wide array of clients including developers, homebuilders, homeowners, landowners and educational institutions throughout various regions in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Pamela M. Tobin , a member of the Commercial Litigation group, was appointed to serve on the Executive Committee of the Montgomery Bar Association for 2014. Ms. Tobin has been an active member of the Montgomery Bar Association for a number of years serving on the Board of Directors, and as Vice Chairwoman of the Women in the Law Committee. In addition, Ms. Tobin will be partnering with Len Deutchman of LDiscovery to present a CLE on cost effective ways for producing electronic discovery at the Montgomery Bar Association. In her practice, Ms. Tobin handles complex commercial litigation cases involving real estate disputes and claims against municipal authorities and agencies.

Kevan F. Hirsch, a principal in the Business & Commercial Litigation group, has been appointed as Chair of the PBA Lawyers’ Assistance Committee for the 2013/2014 year.

Pamela Tobin, a member of the Business & Commercial Litigation group, has been appointed to the Legal Studies Advisory Board of Manor College. Pennsylvania. Manor College is a private two-year institution offering transfer and career oriented programs to traditional age and adult students.

Robert A. Korn are contributing authors of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s recently published “Pennsylvania Construction Law: Project Delivery Methods, Execution, and Completion”, having authored the Chapter titled “Tort Actions Arising on Construction Projects” which focuses on tort claims against the design professional and others involved in the construction process. Mr. Korn work discusses professional malpractice as well as other tort theories, including ordinary and gross negligence and negligent misrepresentation. The publication is a comprehensive and practical resource for construction lawyers looking for a resource in the area of construction law.


A State Property Rights Victory for Kaplin Stewart Against the Railroad

Marc Kaplin and Pamela Tobin have secured a precedent-setting state rights victory in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals for their client, the MacDade Boulevard Mall. The lawsuit was filed as a result of a dispute over CSX Transportation, Inc.’s failure to control its storm water runoff. CSX had allowed its storm water runoff to flood the Mall for years and then installed a concrete spillway on the Mall’s property into the Mall’s private drainage system. The lower court agreed with CSX that it was immune from liability under the Federal Railway Safety Act, 49 U.S.C. € 20106. Marc Kaplin argued the Mall’s case before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals which ultimately reversed the trial court’s decision holding that the federal regulation did not authorize CSX to discharge its storm water directly onto the Mall’s property. The Appeals Court concluded that the regulation was never intended to give the railroad the authority to disregard state property rights. The Third Circuit’s decision is a vindication of state rights and a reminder that landowners have a cause of action against adjoining property owners who do not properly control their storm water.

Dirk Simpson, of the Estates, Administration & Planning group, successfully tried an unusual estates case in the Philadelphia Orphans’ Court, and Pamela Tobin, of the Business & Commercial Litigation group, successfully handled the appeal, resulting in a victory for our client, the executrix of the estate. The executrix wanted her sister to return the proceeds in a bank account that their late mother had long ago titled jointly with her sister. Under the Pennsylvania Multiple Party Accounts Act, 20 Pa. C.S.A. §6303, however, the sister benefited from the presumption that, as surviving joint owner, she legally inherited the account absent clear and convincing contrary intent. This case was unique in that before death, the decedent had deposited $300,000 in the account to use to purchase a home which she intended to title in both daughters’ names. Death occurred before the house was purchased and the surviving account holder took control of the account. Mr. Simpson persuaded the Orphans’ Court that the presumption of survivorship was overcome based on clear and convincing evidence that the decedent had intended to benefit both daughters. The disappointed sister argued on appeal that the lower court erred by considering evidence arising after the account was opened, in violation of the statute. The Superior Court disagreed, holding that under the unique facts of this case, the funds in the joint account belonged to the estate.

Barbara Anisko and Pamela Tobin, of the Commercial Litigation group, obtained a $420,000 settlement for a residential developer whose development project was delayed because of the wrongful actions of Township public officials, the Township Engineer and the Township Code Enforcement Officer.

On behalf of the developer of a 34 lot residential development in Schuylkill Township, this firm sued each of the five members of the Township Board of Supervisors, the Township Engineer and the Township Code Enforcement Officer, in their individual capacities, alleging that they were personally liable for the damages the developer sustained as a result of their tortious actions and the resultant delay which disrupted the completion of the development.

Although the Court of Common Pleas initially dismissed the case on the basis that defendants, as public officials, were immune from personal liability under the Pennsylvania Political Subdivision and Tort Claims Act (“Act”), which decision the Commonwealth Court affirmed, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed and ordered the case reinstated. The Supreme Court ruled that the actions as alleged in the Complaint rose to the level of willful misconduct. Under the Act, officials who commit willful misconduct cannot hide behind the shield of immunity. After reinstatement, the parties engaged in discovery and thereafter agreed to mediate the case, resulting in the settlement.