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Weekly Caselaw Updates

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Energy Transfer v. Friedman

Justice Donohue framed the issue: In a case of first impression, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court considered whether the Office of Open Records (“OOR”) has the authority to review the denial of an individual’s request for records pursuant to the Right to Know Law (“RTKL”) where a public utility has designated…

Energy Transfer v. Friedman
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Justice Donohue framed the issue: In a case of first impression, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court considered whether the Office of Open Records (“OOR”) has the authority to review the denial of an individual’s request for records pursuant to the Right to Know Law (“RTKL”) where a public utility has designated records responsive to the request… Continue reading Energy Transfer v. Friedman

State v. Cnty. of Ocean
New Jersey Appellate Division

The New Jersey Appellate Division ruled that the State must defend counties under the Tort Claims Act but cannot designate who shall bear the cost of indemnity. A county detective was involved in a car crash with a civilian who sued the county for negligence. Under the Tort Claims Act, the Attorney General may: 1.)… Continue reading State v. Cnty. of Ocean

Commonwealth v. Bowens
Pennsylvania Superior Court

In a 62-page opinion, an en banc panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the defendant’s convictions. The charges stemmed from the stop of a car in which the defendant rode as the front-seat passenger. During the traffic stop, the police searched the vehicle’s glove compartment and found guns and drugs. The police later searched… Continue reading Commonwealth v. Bowens

Kuharchik Constr. v. Commonwealth
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

A three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court held that Kuharchik Construction’s purchase and use of items that supported a traffic signal – specifically, signal poles, mast arms, and pedestal bases – qualified as “building machinery and equipment” as defined by Section 201(pp) of the Tax Reform Code of 1971. The Commonwealth filed exceptions. An… Continue reading Kuharchik Constr. v. Commonwealth

Phoebe Servs. Inc. v. City of Allentown
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

The issue in this appeal was whether the trial court erred by misinterpreting the meaning of “business” as defined in a City of Allentown ordinance. In 2018, the City’s Revenue and Audit Bureau issued a Notice of Underpayment and Assessment to Phoebe Services (“Phoebe”), indicating the City’s intention to retroactively impose its business privilege tax… Continue reading Phoebe Servs. Inc. v. City of Allentown

Scranton Quincy Clinic Co. v. Palmiter
Pennsylvania Superior Court

This case presented the Pennsylvania Superior Court with an issue of first impression: Whether the Medical Marijuana Act (“MMA”) creates a private remedy for violations of § 2103 of the Act, which focuses on protecting employee-patients certified to use medical marijuana from employers who would penalize them for availing themselves of the benefits conferred by… Continue reading Scranton Quincy Clinic Co. v. Palmiter

State v. Njango
New Jersey Supreme Court

The New Jersey Supreme Court addressed the issue of time credit where a defendant served time in custody beyond his release date. Njango served a lengthy NERA sentence with a parole-supervision tail under a plea agreement but was kept in custody for an extra year beyond his maximum release date. Njango filed a PCR petition… Continue reading State v. Njango

State v. Carter
New Jersey Supreme Court

The New Jersey Supreme Court issued a critical decision regarding traffic stops based on covered or obscured license plates under N.J.S.A. 39:3-33. In these two consolidated cases, the defendants were stopped because their license plate covers obscured the phrase “Garden State”. In one case, the entire phrase was covered, and in the other case, only… Continue reading State v. Carter

McCloskey v. Pub. Util. Comm’n (Appeal of Metropolitan Edison Co.)
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

The parties disputed whether and, if so, how the addition of Section 1301.1(a) into Subchapter A of Chapter 13 of the Public Utility Code Code, requiring inclusion of “income tax deductions and credits” in rate calculations, should apply to the “distribution system improvement charges” (“DSICs”) rate adjustment mechanism. The Public Utility Commission ruled in favor… Continue reading McCloskey v. Pub. Util. Comm’n (Appeal of Metropolitan Edison Co.)

Commonwealth v. Sanchez-Frometa
Pennsylvania Superior Court

In Commonwealth v., Sanchez-Frometa, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that the Pennsylvania Crimes Code does not authorize a court to impose a sentence of life without the possibility of parole on a juvenile offender for murder in the second degree.