Opinion Summaries for the

Below are our summaries of last week’s precedential appellate decisions from the Pennsylvania and New Jersey state courts, as well as the Third Circuit. Click on a case name, and you will be redirected to the court’s entire opinion.


Myers v. Geer (Civil Law, Administrative Termination)

The Pennsylvania Superior Court held that the lower court erred when it denied plaintiff’s petition to vacate the administrative termination of his civil claims for inactivity. Plaintiff did not receive notice of the lower court’s intent to dismiss the matter because he was incarcerated and his attorney got disbarred.

Philadelphia Surgery Ctr. v. Excalibur Ins. Mgmt. Svs., LLC (Administrative Law, Insurance Law)

Provider petitioned for review of an adjudication of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, Fee Review Hearing Office. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled that the Hearing Office lacked the statutory authority to order Provider to reimburse Insurer for an overpayment of medical services.

Butler v. Chapman (Administrative Law, Election Law)

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court held that special elections to fill three state House of Representative Seats should be held on February 7. The result was a setback for Republicans, who are trying to maintain a slim majority in the chamber.


State v. Hill (Criminal Law, Vagueness)

The New Jersey Appellate Division held that the State’s witness intimidation statute is not overbroad or vague. The Court ruled that the objective standard is appropriate, and the State need not prove the defendant knew their conduct would cause a prohibited result.

State v. Chambers (Criminal Law, Mental Health Records Request)

The ​​New Jersey Supreme Court established the standard applicable to a motion to obtain discovery of the preincident mental health records of an alleged sexual assault victim. The Court also outlined a less formal process through which defendants may request those records by letter to the prosecutor’s office.

Evolution AB v. Marra (Civil Law, Attorney Disclosure of Client Identity)

The New Jersey Appellate Division ruled that the trial court erred in ordering the defendant-attorney to reveal a client’s identity. The “revelation of the client’s identity, if at all discoverable, must await a better understanding of the weight of plaintiffs’ causes of action.”

Platkin v. Smith & Wesson Sales Co. (Civil Law, Enforceability of Subpoenas)

The New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s order that denied defendant’s challenges to a subpoena duces tecum. The Court disagreed with defendant’s first-to-file argument and constitutional claims.


United States v. Lewis (Criminal Law, Sentencing)

The Third Circuit ruled that defendant’s New Jersey conviction for possession with intent to distribute marijuana is a “controlled substance offense” under § 2K2.1(a)(4)(A) of the U.S.S.G. Defendant unsuccessfully argued that the crime should not qualify because the federal sentencing defined marijuana more narrowly than New Jersey law.

Saban-Cach v. Att’y Gen. (Immigration)

In this removal action, the Third Circuit granted the petition for review, vacated the BIA’s decision, and remanded. The Court found that the BIA abused its discretion in affirming the IJ’s (a.) denial of withholding of removal and (b.) relief under the Convention Against Torture.

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