Mader v. Duquesne Light Co.

In Mader v. Duquesne Light Co., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court considered the limits on a trial court’s discretion to order a new trial on all damages where a jury’s award on certain damages was based on stipulations or was otherwise unimpeachable. The Court held that a jury’s award of certain types of damages may be … Read more

McMichael v. McMichael

In McMichael v. McMichael, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court gave quality primers on the difference between a survival action and a wrongful death action as well as the difference between economic and non-economic damages. In this wrongful death and survival action, the jury awarded the decedent’s surviving spouse zero dollars in damages — economic and non-economic … Read more

Commonwealth v. Knight

In Commonwealth v. Knight, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reviewed the defendant’s death sentence. The Court ruled that most of the defendant’s claims were waived. In addressing his claim that PA’s death penalty statute is unconstitutional, the Court chided the defendant for incorporating by reference in his brief a different brief authored by another attorney. The … Read more

In re Canvassing Observation

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court dealt another body blow to Donald Trump’s attempts to override the will of the voters. In In re Canvassing Observations, Justice Todd wrote for a five-justice majority in holding that elections officials in Philadelphia gave the Trump campaign’s representative the appropriate degree of access required by the Election Code for an … Read more

In re Adoption of K.M.G.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court used In re Adoption of K.M.G. as a vehicle to answer the question: “[W]hether reviewing courts must determine sua sponte whether a conflict existed in an attorney’s representation of a child’s best interests and legal interests and whether counsel’s advocacy for the child’s legal interests included placing the child’s preferred outcome … Read more

Commonwealth v. Jones

In Commonwealth v. Jones, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that opinion testimony from a detective, who was not qualified as an expert, concerning the behavior of a child victim in response to sexual abuse, informed by that detective’s training and experience, constituted expert testimony under PA Rules of Evidence 701 and 702. The Court then … Read more

Commonwealth v. Cox

In Commonwealth v. Cox, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court considered an appeal from the denial of PCRA relief in a capital case. The defendant claimed he was intellectually disabled and could not be executed. The Court focused on whether the defendant had “significant adaptive limitations.” The Court found the PCRA court’s weighing of that factor deficient … Read more

In re Nov. 3, 2020 Gen. Election

In re Nov. 3, 2020 General Election involved absentee and mail-in ballots for the upcoming election. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court directed the county boards of elections not to reject absentee or mail-in ballots for counting, computing, and tallying based on signature comparisons conducted by county election officials or employees or as the result of third-party challenges … Read more

Commonwealth v. Chmiel

In Commonwealth v. Chmiel, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court considered an appeal from the denial of PCRA relief in a capital case. The defendant challenged the microscopic hair analysis used at his trial. The Court took “this opportunity to admonish that testifying examiners must acknowledge the inherent limitations and assiduously avoid the forms of over-claiming and … Read more

Hammons v. Ethicon

The controversy in Hammons v. Ethicon is perfect for a law school civil procedure exam. The case presented a challenge to the exercise of specific personal jurisdiction in Pennsylvania over New Jersey corporate defendants in a case filed by an Indiana resident regarding injuries allegedly caused by a pelvic mesh medical device implanted in Indiana. While … Read more