Opinion Summaries for the

Below are summaries of the precedential appellate decisions from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the Third Circuit for the week of October 3. Click on a case name, and you will be redirected to the court’s entire opinion.


Commonwealth v. Moroz; Commonwealth v. Richards

The Pennsylvania Superior Court overruled its decision in Commonwealth v. Chichkin. The Court held “that the portion of 75 Pa.C.S. § 3806(a), which equates prior acceptance of ARD to a prior DUI conviction for purposes of imposing a Section 3804 mandatory minimum sentence, passes constitutional muster.”

Read Judge Stabile’s concurring opinions here and here.

Read Judge McCaffery’s dissenting opinions here and here.

Criminal Law, DUI

Dep’t of Envtl. Prot. v. Clearfield County

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court first determined that it had jurisdiction to review this case’s interlocutory order under Pa.R.A.P. 311(f)(2). The Court then affirmed the order of the Environmental Hearing Board that granted summary judgment for Clearfield County and rescinded the petitioner’s permit to construct a landfill.

Administrative Law, Environmental Law

Venema v. Moser Builders, Inc.

In this construction defect case, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s award of judgment on the pleadings on the ground that the plaintiffs’ claims were time-barred by the 12-year Statute of Repose. The plaintiffs unsuccessfully argued that their complaint was timely because the Statute of Repose period was tolled by the defendant’s ongoing repairs to the plaintiffs’ residence.

Civil Law, Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, Statute of Repose

Woodring v. Unemployment Bd. of Rev.

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed a Referee’s decision that Claimant was ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits under Section 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law relating to willful misconduct.

Administrative Law, Unemployment Compensation


The appellate courts in the Garden State took a respite from opinion writing this week.


United States v. Haisten

The Third Circuit reviewed the denial of collateral relief for a couple who engaged in “a truly unusual pairing of business lines”: On eBay, they sold discounted animal pesticides and drugs without proper regulatory approval, as well as counterfeit DVDs. Kind of a really messed up Netflix and chill thing. In their 2255 petition, the couple claimed their lawyer was ineffective for failing to object to venue on two counts because the counterfeit DVDs were never in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The Court remanded for an evidentiary hearing on whether trial counsel had a strategic reason for not objecting.

Criminal Law, Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

George E. Warran, LLC v. Colonial Pipeline Co.

The Third Circuit entered a fracas over gasoline blends. One party wanted the other to stop the inline blending of gasoline so the party could optimize its profitability by blending cheaper blendstocks. The Court affirmed the lower court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants because the filed-rate doctrine precluded the plaintiff’s claims.

Civil Law, Summary Judgment

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