Case Decisions & Opinions
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania handed down a major decision in the case of Beyers v. Richmond et al., No. 38 EAP 2006, 937 A.2d 1082 (Pa.2007), decided December 28, 2007.
In the case of Westport Insurance Corporation v. Hanft & Knight, P.C., et al., 523 F.Supp.2d 444 (M.D.Pa.,2007), Judge John E. Jones, III of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania wrote an important opinion regarding the duty of a legal malpractice carrier to cover a law firm’s liability for dishonest acts by one of its members.
(Lemoyne, Pa.) - The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has added a new component to its Web site to assure the public is informed of recent Supreme Court actions taken against attorneys.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has modified the standard under which Federal courts in the circuit may limit public comment or release of information by attorneys and parties on pending matters, requiring a more stringent standard to be met before such restrictions can be imposed.
Most disciplinary cases in Pennsylvania are decided by brief per curiam orders of the Supreme Court, adopting, modifying, or rejecting a Report of the Disciplinary Board. In December, however, the Supreme Court took the unusual step of writing three full-length opinions in disciplinary cases.
On August 3, 2004, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania adopted an order establishing the Minor Judiciary Interest on Trust Accounts program. Members of the minor judiciary are directed to maintain funds received in their official capacity in interest-bearing accounts.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has ruled that a lawyer who is suspended from the state bar of Pennsylvania, but who has been reinstated to practice before the Federal Courts, cannot maintain a physical office in Pennsylvania for the conduct of his Federal Practice.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has ruled that Section 1103(g) of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act, 65 Pa. C. S.§1103(g), which sets limits on the ability of former state employees or officers to represent clients before the state agency for which they worked, violates Article V, §10(c) of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which vests in the Supreme Court exclusive jurisdiction to regulate the practice of law.
On March 27, 2003, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a decision in the case of Brown v. Legal Foundation of Washington, in which it rejected a challenge that Washington's Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program was unconsitutional as a taking of private property without compensation.