Opinion Summaries for the

Welcome to 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. Barnes (Suppression, Unprovoked Flight)

The Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the trial court’s grant of defendant’s suppression motion. The Court ruled that police officers had reasonable suspicion to conduct an investigative detention based on defendant’s unprovoked flight in a high crime area.

Commonwealth v. Copes (Compulsory Joinder)

The Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the trial court’s order that granted defendant’s motion to dismiss. The Court ruled that compulsory joinder did not apply because defendant’s unlawful possession of a firearm charge did not arise from the same criminal conduct or episode as the previous prosecution for simple assault.

Commonwealth v. Horlick (Sufficiency, Strangulation)

The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed defendant’s convictions for strangulation and simple assault. The Court ruled that the evidence was sufficient to sustain the conviction for strangulation because it established that defendant impeded the victim’s breathing by applying pressure to her neck and throat. 

Commonwealth v. Gray (Criminal Law, Consolidation of cases)

The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed defendant’s conviction for robbery, ruling that the trial court correctly consolidated three cases under Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 583.

Elite Care, RX, LLC v. Premier Comp Solutions, LLC (Preliminary Objections, Subject Matter Jurisdiction)

The Pennsylvania Superior Court held that the Workers’ Compensation Act does not divest trial courts of jurisdiction over causes of actions where the parties to a lawsuit are an employer’s insurers and a provider’s billing agent. The insurers unsuccessfully argued that plaintiff’s exclusive remedy was through an Application for Fee Review in the Pennsylvania Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

Read Judge McLaughlin’s concurring opinion here.

Read Judge Olson’s dissent here.


State v. Jones (Suppression)

The New Jersey Appellate Division reversed the trial court’s order denying defendant’s suppression motion. The Court held that the trial court erred in denying the motion without conducting an evidentiary hearing because defendant’s counterstatement satisfied Rule 3:5-7(c).

In re M.H. (Megan’s Law, Registration)

The New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the Law Division’s order that denied defendant’s motion to terminate his obligations under Megan’s Law. Defendant unsuccessfully argued the registration and community notification requirements violated his substantive due process rights guaranteed by the New Jersey Constitution.

Arbus, Maybruch & Goode, LLC v. Cohen (Summary Judgment, Legal Fees)

The New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s award of summary judgment and legal fees to a law firm in this fee dispute. The Court held that the law firm’s agreements with defendants comported with RPC 1.5, fully apprising defendants of their fee.


Erie Ins. Co. v. Erie Indemnity Exchange (Civil Law, Jurisdiction)

The Third Circuit affirmed the District Court’s ruling that remanded this case to state court. There was no basis for exercising federal jurisdiction because the case was neither a class action under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 nor a continuation of a voluntarily dismissed prior class action.

Xi v. Haugen (Civil Law, Federal Tort Claims Act)

The Third Circuit reversed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment and ruled that Federal Tort Claims Act claims premised on conduct plausibly alleged to violate the Constitution may not be dismissed based on the discretionary function exception.

Borowski v. Kean Univ. (Employment Law, Jurisdiction)

The Third Circuit ruled that the District Court erred when it relied on Younger abstention to dismiss the case with prejudice. Younger abstention was incorrect for two reasons. First, this case did not involve a Younger-eligible matter. Second, when the plaintiff filed the complaint, there were no ongoing state proceedings.

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