News & Publications

Zimmer Kunz News April 19, 2015

Joseph Butcher to Serve as Moderator of CLE in Erie, PA on May 14, 2015

Joseph Butcher, Zimmer Kunz member and current First Vice President of the Western District of Pennsylvania Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, will be the moderator of a CLE in Erie, Pennsylvania at the Erie Club on Thursday, May 14, 2015 beginning at 4:00 p.m.  The CLE is titled:  “Good Faith: Don’t Enter Into ADR […]

West Virginia Updates April 19, 2015

Case Bulletin – West Virginia Decision Upholds Caperton Test Regarding Forum-Selection Clauses and Dismisses Case for Improper Venue

In East Coast Underground, LLC v. Daniel Utility Construction, Inc., the Circuit Court granted defendant’s motion to dismiss asserting that the Harrison County, West Virginia venue selection of the plaintiff was improper. Plaintiff-Petitioner appealed arguing that the forum-selection clause in the subject contract was unenforceable. Here, the parties entered into a subcontract which contained a […]

Pennsylvania Updates March 18, 2015

Case Bulletin — Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules on Tolling of Oil and Gas Leases

On February 17, 2015 in the case Wayne Harrison et al. v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation,2015 WL 668073 (Pa. 2015), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a landowner’s legal dispute against Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (“Cabot”) would not allow Cabot to extend that lease.  In 2007, the Harrisons entered into an oil and gas […]

Pennsylvania Updates March 18, 2015

Pennsylvania Enacts DUI Repeat Offense Provision

In late 2014, a key change to Pennsylvania’s DUI laws was enacted that has the potential to change how a repeat DUI offense is charged and what penalties are imposed.   Prior to the enactment of Senate Bill 1239, individuals charged with a DUI could not be charged as a repeat offender unless they had […]

West Virginia Updates March 9, 2015

Governor Tomblin Signs Comparative Fault Bill Abolishing West Virginia’s Joint and Several Liability

On Thursday, March 5, 2015 Governor Tomblin signed HB 2002 into law, changing West Virginia’s joint and several liability standard – to one of comparative fault. Until now, defendants in West Virginia faced joint and several liability which meant that they could be responsible for more damages than those which actually reflect their percentage of […]

West Virginia Updates March 6, 2015

Case Bulletin – West Virginia Supreme Court Rules That “Knowledge” is the Crux of The Issue in Claim of Intentional Spoliation of Evidence

In Williams v. Werner (W.Va. Supreme Court March 2, 2015), a tractor-trailer was involved in a one-vehicle accident as a result of hazardous winter weather conditions on 1-79 near Jane Lew, West Virginia. The tractor-trailer hit a guardrail, jackknifed, overturned and slid 30 feet down the embankment. A fire had started which eventually consumed the tractor-trailer, […]

West Virginia Updates February 26, 2015

West Virginia Senate Introduces Bill Regarding Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims

In West Virginia, Senate Bill 411, known as “Asbestos Bankruptcy Trust Claims Transparency Act and Asbestos and Silica Claims Priorities Act” was recently introduced, and is currently in the Senate Judiciary for debate.  The Bill deals with bankruptcy trust claims and other aspects of asbestos litigation in West Virginia.  The portion of the Bill relating […]

Pennsylvania Updates February 23, 2015

Case Bulletin – Federal District Court Considers Effect of an Insured’s Poor English Skills on Claims for Insurance Breach of Contract and Bad Faith

On February 10, 2015 the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania released a new opinion examining aspects of Pennsylvania’s insurance law including breach of contract, bad faith, and insurance fraud. Henriquez-Disla v. Allstate Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., No. CIV.A. 13-284, 2015 WL 539550 (E.D. Pa. 2015). In Henriquez-Disla, the Plaintiffs […]

Pennsylvania Updates February 23, 2015

Case Bulletin – Federal District Court Grants Insurance Company’s Request for Reimbursement of Settlement Monies Paid Following Determination That There Was No Duty to Defend the Client

On February 6, 2015, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted American Western Home Insurance Company’s (“American Western”) Motion for Summary Judgment asking for reimbursement of monies which it paid towards the settlement of the underlying lawsuit on behalf of its insured, Donnelly Distribution (“Donnelly”).  Am. W. Home Ins. Co. […]

West Virginia Updates February 16, 2015

West Virginia Legislature Looks to Reinstate the “Open and Obvious” Doctrine

In 2013, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals abolished the doctrine of “open and obvious” in the case of Hersh v. E-T Enterprises, Ltd. Partnership, 232 W.Va. 305 (2013). Less than two years later, on February 4, 2015, the Senate introduced Senate Bill 13 which would reinstate what Hersh had removed from West Virginia […]

Pennsylvania Updates February 13, 2015

Case Bulletin – Pennsylvania Federal District Court Creates Clarification in Pennsylvania’s Quiet Title Procedure

Given the history of oil and gas production in Pennsylvania, quiet title actions are sometimes necessary to clear the title on the mineral estates underlying properties before production can commence. This past year, the Middle District of Pennsylvania clarified the requirements a plaintiff must satisfy to maintain a quiet title action for a mineral estate […]

Pennsylvania Updates February 8, 2015

Case Bulletin – Pennsylvania Supreme Court lets Superior Court Decision Stand Applying the Statute of Repose to an Asbestos Action.

On February 4, 2015, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court at No. 476 EAL 2014 denied a Petition for Allowance of Appeal in the matter of Graver v. Foster Wheeler Corporation (“Foster Wheeler”), a case involving an asbestos-related injury allegedly caused by an improvement to real property and in which Foster Wheeler raised the statute of repose […]

West Virginia Updates February 8, 2015

Case Bulletin – Fourth Circuit Renders Decision Placing the Issue of Whether an Employee has Objectively Suffered Severe or Pervasive Harassment with the Jury

On December 23, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit rendered a decision that placed the issue of whether an employee has subjectively and objectively suffered harassment in her workplace to satisfy the requirements under Title VII, with the jury and not with a judge deciding a motion for summary judgment. […]

Pennsylvania Updates February 2, 2015

Case Bulletin – Plaintiffs’ Claims Continue to be Denied in Landmark Drilling Tort Case

Pennsylvania federal judge, John E. Jones, III, granted in part a motion  for summary judgment in the case Ely v. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., Civil No. 3:09-cv-2284, United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, which  limited plaintiffs’ claims in a suit over allegations of oil and gas drilling leading  to the contamination […]

Pennsylvania Updates February 2, 2015

Pennsylvania Revised Power of Attorney Requirements Take Effect

Pennsylvania recently enacted sweeping new changes to the laws governing Powers of Attorney used for financial and property transactions in Pennsylvania.  Act of July 2, 2014, Pub.L. 855, No. 95 (“Act 95”) amends Chapter 56 of the Pennsylvania Estates and Fiduciaries Code, 20 Pa.C.S. §§ 5601-5612, and applies to these types of Powers of Attorney […]

Pennsylvania Updates February 2, 2015

Case Bulletin – Pennsylvania Superior Court Rules That Lay Witness Co-worker Affidavit is Insufficient to Establish Asbestos Content

In Krauss v. Trane U.S., Inc., the plaintiff-decedent developed an asbestos related disease as a result of his employment as a bricklayer at various facilities.  The trial court granted summary judgment on behalf of some defendants which resulted in an appeal.  The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the trial court and held that an affidavit of […]

Pennsylvania Updates February 2, 2015

Case Bulletin – Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rejects Multiple Trigger Theory of Liability Insurance Coverage

On December 15, 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its ruling in Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Insurance Company v. St. John and declined to apply the multiple trigger theory of liability insurance coverage, which would have applied coverage from all four of Pennsylvania National’s policies to the St. Johns’ claims. In this case, the St. […]

West Virginia Updates January 8, 2015

Case Bulletin – West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Affirms Jury Verdict and Trial Court Rulings In Rear End Collision Accident In Response to Multiple Assignments of Error

On November 21, 2014, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals issued a memorandum decision affirming the finding of the circuit court and jury verdict award  (over $1 million) in favor of the respondent in the case of Barrett v. Retton. This case resulted in a significant jury award for a rear-end motor vehicle accident […]

Pennsylvania Updates January 8, 2015

Case Bulletin – Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules that Insureds Can Assign Bad Faith Claims to Injured Third Parties

On December 15, 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that an insured can assign his or her bad faith claim against his or her insurance carrier to the injured party.  In  Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company v. Jared Wolfe, a man was injured when his vehicle was struck by a drunk driver.  At trial, […]

Zimmer Kunz News January 8, 2015

Matthew Breneman – CLE presentation on Slip and Fall Cases in Pennsylvania

Shareholder Matthew Breneman was recently a presenter at a continuing education course entitled “Litigating Slip, Trip and Fall Cases in Pennsylvania.”  Mr. Breneman spoke regarding the fundamentals of slip, trip and fall litigation including relevant case law and statutes.  He also discussed the typical causes of slip/trip and falls and the most common injuries seen […]