Opinion Summaries for the

Below are Sullivan | Simon’s 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.


Commonwealth v. Lear (Criminal Law, Rule 600)

The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the denial of defendant’s suppression motion because officers did not unlawfully prolong a traffic stop. The Court remanded for the trial court to determine for purposes of a speedy trial motion if the Commonwealth exercised due diligence during Montgomery County’s COVID-19 “court postponement.”

Yoder v. McCarty Constr., Inc. (Employment Law, Workers’ Compensation Act)

The Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the $5.5 million judgment in favor of plaintiff and remanded for entry of judgment for defendant. The Court determined that defendant qualified as plaintiff’s statutory employer under the five-part McDonald test and was, therefore, entitled to tort immunity.

Loftus v. Decker (Civil Law, Civil Procedure)

An en banc panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court quashed the appeal of an insurer who sought to intervene in a suit that had only made it as far as a writ of summons. The Court ruled that the order denying intervention was interlocutory and did not merit immediate review.

Read Judge Murray’s dissenting opinion here.

Pierce-Boyce v. Unemployment Compens. Bd. of Rev. (Administrative Law, Unemployment Compensation)

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed the order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, denying Claimant unemployment compensation benefits. The Court ruled that substantial evidence supported the Board’s finding that Claimant deliberately violated Employer’s policies.


State v. Scott (Criminal Law, Bias)

The New Jersey Appellate Division ruled that a police dispatcher can violate a citizen’s equal protection rights, and implicit bias can be a basis for establishing a prima facie case of police discrimination. This case is a must-read for any criminal law or civil rights practitioner


In re LTL Mgmt., LLC (Bankruptcy, Asbestos Litigation)

The Third Circuit dealt a blow to Johnson & Johnson when it dismissed the bankruptcy case of its subsidiary, LTL Management. LTL was created in a controversial process known as the “Texas Two-Step,” whereby LTL took its parent company’s liabilities. The Court held that the bankruptcy was not in good faith.

Sanofi Aventis U.S. LLC v. Dep’t Health and Hum. Svs. (Administrative Law, Statutory Interpretation)

The Third Circuit disagreed with the Department of Health and Human Services and ruled that Section 340B, dealing with Medicare and Medicaid, does not require drug makers to deliver drugs to an unlimited number of contract pharmacies.

Home Depot USA, Inc. v. Lafarge N. Am., Inc. (Law of the Case, Issue Preclusion)

In this interlocutory appeal, the issue was how the doctrines of law of the case and issue preclusion apply to a dispute in this multidistrict litigation proceeding. The Third Circuit held that those doctrines generally apply to each case in this MDL in the same way they apply to cases outside of it.

Doe v. Scalia (Civil Law, Employment Law)

The Third Circuit confronted an issue of first impression. It ruled that the Occupational Safety Health Act of 1970 does not create a private cause of action for an employee against the Secretary of Labor seeking relief for dangerous working conditions after the Department of Labor has completed enforcement proceedings.

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