News & Publications

West Virginia Updates June 24, 2015

West Virginia: If you do not intend to indemnify for another’s negligence, say exactly that in the contract.

In Elk Run Coal Company, Inc. v. Canopius US Insurance, Inc., filed June 9, 2015, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that very broad indemnity language sufficed to require a contracting trucker to indemnify Elk Run Coal Company for injuries to the trucker’s employee caused entirely by Elk Run’s negligence. The contract’s indemnity […]

West Virginia Updates June 14, 2015

West Virginia State Law Profile Updated By Zimmer Kunz Shareholders Stewart and DeCourcy

Shareholders George Stewart and Dara DeCourcy just completed overhauling our profile of West Virginia transportation-related tort law.   The updated profile addresses West Virginia’s 2015 tort reform legislation and current case law. You can download a copy of the profile using the link, WV State Law Profile.

Industry News June 14, 2015

Case Bulletin – US Supreme Court Rules That Employer’s Knowledge of Religious Practice Is Not Required For Violation of Title VII

In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. (June 1, 2015), the Supreme Court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits an employer from making an employment decision based on an applicant’s religious practice, whether the employer has actual knowledge of the religious practice or not. Samantha […]

Pennsylvania Updates June 14, 2015

Case Bulletin – Pennsylvania Supreme Court declines to apply umbrella insurance policy’s employee exclusion to non-employer additional insureds

On May 26, 2015, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Mutual Benefit Ins. Co. v. Politsopoulous held that the employee liability exclusion section of a commercial liability insurance policy did not apply to non-employer additional insureds.  Specifically, the Court found the specific language of the policy to be dispositive in that it referred to “the insured” when […]

West Virginia Updates May 28, 2015

Case Bulletin – West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Holds that the Criminal Behavior of a Plaintiff is Not a Bar to Recovery But a Consideration for the Jury on Comparative Fault

In Tug Valley Pharmacy v. All Plaintiffs (May 13, 2015), Plaintiff-patients of the Mountain Medical Center, most of whom were being treated as a result of workplace injuries or auto accident injuries, were prescribed controlled substances by Mountain’s physicians and ultimately alleged that they became addicted, criminally abused their prescriptions, and engaged in criminal activity related to […]

Pennsylvania Updates May 18, 2015

Case Bulletin – Beaver County Court Upholds Township’s Approval of Compressor Station

Earlier this year, Judge John D. McBride from the Court of Common Pleas in Beaver County issued his opinion in the case Kretschmann Farm, LLC, et al. v. Township of New Sewickley, et al., No. 11393 of 2014, Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County. That decision affirmed the township’s Board of Supervisor’s conditional use […]

Zimmer Kunz News April 30, 2015

Jeffrey Ramaley to Serve As Moderator on Auto Insurance Law

On October 22, 2015, Attorney Jeffrey Ramaley, Zimmer Kunz member, will serve as the moderator for the Continuing Legal Education seminar:  The Auto Insurance Law Update.  The seminar will take place in Pittsburgh.

Pennsylvania Updates April 30, 2015

Case Bulletin – Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules on Worker’s Compensation Insurer’s Direct Suit to Recover Lien Amounts

On December 13, 2009, George Lawrence suffered a work related injury when he slipped and fell on a property leased by Domtar Paper Co. and owned by Commercial Net Realty Services, Inc.  As a result of this injury, Mr. Lawrence collected nearly $34,000 in worker’s compensation benefits from his employer’s worker’s compensation carrier, Liberty Mutual. […]

West Virginia Updates April 30, 2015

Case Bulletin – West Virginia Supreme Court Addresses Use of Writ of Prohibition

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in State of West Virginia ex rel., West Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement Board v. Whalen, No. 14-1250 (April 13, 2015) (Jan. 2015 Term), held that in cases where it is claimed that the lower court exceeded its legitimate powers, a writ of prohibition will issue only in clear […]

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 […]