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 opinion.


Huber v. Simon’s Agency, Inc. (Class Action, Standing)

This appeal implicated the informational injury doctrine of Article III standing. The Third Circuit applied its recent ruling in Kelly v. RealPage Inc., 47 F.4th 202, 213 (3d Cir. 2022), and determined that Huber did not have standing based on an “informational injury” because she did not identify “omitted information to which she was entitled.” However, she had standing on a different basis—the financial harm she suffered bore a “close relationship” to the harm associated with the tort of fraudulent misrepresentation.


Commonwealth v. Hind (Criminal Law, DUI)

In these consolidated appeals, the Commonwealth argued that the trial court should have treated Appellees’ prior acceptance of ARD for a DUI as a prior offense for sentencing purposes in accordance with Commonwealth v. Richards, 284 A.3d 214 (Pa. Super. 2022) (Richards I) (en banc), appeal granted, 294 A.3d 300 (Pa. 2023) (Richards II) (per curiam order), and Commonwealth v. Moroz, 284 A.3d 227 (Pa. Super. 2022) (en banc). The Pennsylvania Superior Court disagreed with the Commomwealth’s arguments and affirmed the judgments of sentence.

Commonwealth v. Fisher (Criminal Law, Sentencing)

The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed defendant’s convictions of disorderly conduct and an equipment violation. However, the Court remanded for resentencing because the sentencing court lacked the authority to order community service as a standalone term of a non-probation sentence.

Commonwealth v. Banniger (Criminal Law, Sufficiency)

The Pennsylvania Superior Court held that evidence that a defendant had intercourse with an unconscious person, without more, is insufficient to prove forcible compulsion.

Commonwealth v. Walker (Criminal Law, Voir Dire)

Defendant appealed from his judgment of sentence for rape of a child and related offenses. He argued that the trial court erred by asking prospective jurors during voir dire whether they could follow the principle that the testimony of the alleged victim standing alone if believed, could constitute sufficient proof upon which to find the defendant guilty of sexual assault beyond a reasonable doubt. The Pennsylvania Superior Court concluded that this inquiry was proper and affirmed.

Commonwealth v. Little (Criminal Law, Prima Facie Case)

The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s grant of a writ of habeas corpus. The Court ruled that the Commonwealth did not meet its burden to establish a prima facie case that Appellee committed conspiracy to commit robbery.

Commonwealth v. Mach Transport, LLC (Traffic Citation, Guilty Plea)

Appellant was issued a traffic summons for driving an unregistered vehicle. A magisterial district justice found Appellant guilty and fined Appellant, who timely appealed to the court of common pleas. Appellant and the Commonwealth agreed that Appellant would pay a reduced fine. The trial court accepted the agreement, entered a disposition of guilty, and imposed the reduced fine. Appellant appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court and sought to vacate the guilty plea, asserting it was unknowing, unintelligent, and involuntary. The Court remanded for further proceedings concerning whether to vacate Appellant’s guilty plea where it would be manifest injustice not to do so. 

Tranter v. Z&D Tour, Inc. (Civil Law, Forum Non Conveniens)

The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that the trial court erred in transferring the cases from Philadelphia County to Westmoreland County based on forum non conveniens.

In re Jones (Civil Law, Structured Settlement Protection Act)

The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s order that granted Jones’s petition to vacate a transfer order entered under Pennsylvania’s Structured Settlement Protection Act.

Ebersole v. Commonwealth (Administrative Law, Transfer Tax)

Grantors petitioned for review of a determination of the Board of Finance and Revenue that assessed a realty transfer tax on their conveyance of three parcels of real property to the trust they created as part of their estate plan. The ​​Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court reversed the Board’s determination because Grantors’ conveyance to a trust was not subject to the realty transfer tax.

Dennis v. House (Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd) (Administrative Law, Workers’ Compensation)

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board’s adjudication that although Claimant sustained a work injury, she was not entitled to wage loss benefits.

Better Bets Ventures, LLC v. Pa. Gaming Control Bd (Administrative Law, Gaming License)

In these consolidated appeals, Petitioners sought review of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s denial of their applications for video gaming terminal operator and video gaming terminal principal licenses under the Video Gaming Act. The Board denied the Applications because of Petitioners’ involvement in and association with the “skill games” industry in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court reversed and ruled that the Board erred and abused its discretion in denying the Applications on that basis. 

22 S. 40th Street Owner LLC v. Pa. Prevailing Wage Appeals Bd (Administrative Law, Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage)

Owner petitioned the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court for review of the Final Decision of the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Appeals Board denying Owner’s grievance filed under Section 2(e)(1) of the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act. The Court affimed.

Slate Hills Enterprises, Inc. v. Portland Borough Zoning Hearing Bd (Administrative Law, Variances)

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled that the variances Slate Hills sought were not dimensional variances subject to a lesser burden of proof for establishing a hardship.


Doe v. Estate of C.V.O., Jr. (Civil Law, Child Sexual Abuse Act)

This appeal raised issues of first impression pertaining to the civil prosecution of statutory and common law personal injury claims arising from allegations of sexual abuse committed fifty-five years ago against a child by his sister, who also was a minor when the acts occurred. The New Jersey Appellate Division concluded that Doe’s derivative passive abuser claims against defendants failed. However, Doe’s common law claims against defendants were cognizable because they were timely filed and alleged sexual assaults when she was a minor.

Cargill Meat Solutions, Corp. v. Director, Division of Taxation (Civil Law, Clean Communities Program Act)

This appeal involved the Clean Communities Program Act, which imposes a tax on the sale of litter-generating products in this state involving manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers.

In re Route 66 (Administrative Law, State Highway Access Management Act)

This administrative appeal concerned a NJ State roadway project’s alteration of a commercial property owner’s access to a State highway. The issue was whether the roadway project’s replacement of appellant’s direct access to State Highway 66 through an existing driveway with access through a shared driveway connecting to an adjacent landowner’s parcel comprises a “revocation” or “removal” of appellant’s means of access, or, alternatively, whether the change is simply a “modification” of access.

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