Blog Posts

What Every Pennsylvania Landlord Should Know

December 20, 2022

If you are a commercial Landlord in the state of Pennsylvania, there is a provision you should be negotiating into all of your leases.  Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states where Confession of Judgment is permitted.  It is not permitted in residential leases or consumer transactions.  Confession of Judgment is a pleading filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Pennsylvania that allows Landlord to obtain an immediate judgment against Tenant without prior notice or an opportunity to be heard in court by Tenant.  Confession of Judgment can be used to obtain a money judgment for unpaid rent and additional rent or it can be used to retake possession of the leased premises.  There are essentially two separate Confession clauses, one for money damages and one for possession.  MMDC’s strategy is to negotiate for both money and possession from the start.  It is worth noting that Tenants not based in Pennsylvania are usually unfamiliar with this powerful remedy and they need to be talked through the process and it is best handled by experienced attorneys. Commercial landlords favor Confession of Judgment clauses due to the fact that they can immediately obtain the judgment against Tenant without having to…

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Staying Updated in Criminal Law

November 8, 2022

Criminal Law is not a fixed concept. The law is always changing based on decisions reached by the courts. At Musi, Merkins, Daubenberger & Clark, LLP, you can be sure that we are up to date on the all of the latest changes in law. Below is a list of case updates that have significantly impacted criminal law in the last several years. Nanny Cameras – Commonwealth v. Mason A Defendant who is recorded committing an alleged criminal act on a nanny camera does not violate the Wiretap Act, and the video can be used in court. The courts have found the Defendant has no expectation of privacy in someone else’s home, unless the Defendant can show they did have an expectation of privacy. For example, if the Defendant can show proof that they lived in the home, they would have an expectation of privacy. Odor of Marijuana – Commonwealth v. Barr The odor of marijuana alone can no longer be used to used as probable cause to search a vehicle without a search warrant. As the law has changed and accessibility to medical marijuana has grown, the law has changed to keep up. Marijuana odor alone is not enough…

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Recent successes in Landlord / Tenant matters

October 4, 2022

Many landlord tenant matters are cut and dry and are a matter of not paying rent. Many however are more complicated and involve matters of alleged breaches of contract by both the tenant and the landlord.  Below is a list of recent success stories from our firm. Residential Tenant fails to pay, but alleges the reason is because the property is inhabitable Under landlord tenant law, a tenant may withhold rent for portions of the property that are inhabitable. This law requires strict guidelines on how the money may be withheld and notice requirements that must be given. In this case, the tenant stated to the court that they refused to pay rent because the property was inhabitable due to a vermin infestation. While the tenant was correct, attorneys at MMD&C elicited testimony that the infestation was a result of them taking in multiple stray cats. Moreover, the tenant had changed the locks at the property, and refused the landlord permission to enter and make repairs.   Through careful testimonial examination, receipts, pictures, and various other exhibits, we were able to show the court that the tenants claim was a scheme, designed to try and secure free housing. The court…

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Partner Rich Daubenberger Successfully Defends a DUI Case Involving Prescription Medication

September 13, 2022

Partner Rich Daubenberger successfully defended, and beat, a recent DUI case involving medication that was legally prescribed to the defendant. The defendant was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance. During the course of the investigation, a toxicology report was completed in which it was found that the defendant had 39 nanograms of amphetamine in his blood and thus exceeded the legal level to be able to drive. The defendant obtained his pharmacy records which showed that he was prescribed 60mg of Vyvanse, a medication often used to treat symptoms of ADHD. The Commonwealth based their argument off the lowest possible prescribed amount. It was their forensic toxicologist’s opinion that the concentration of amphetamine found in the defendant’s blood was indicative of amphetamine intake in pharmacologically significant dosage amounts. However, Partner Rich Daubenberger successfully argued that the amount of prescription narcotics in the defendant’s system was both appropriate and pharmacologically insignificant by utilizing a defense forensic toxicological expert. Even if you are legally taking a medication prescribed to you by your doctor to improve your health, you are still at risk of being charged with a DUI. When it comes to DUIs, Pennsylvania considers prescription…

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MMDC Organizational Changes

August 30, 2022

Musi, Merkins, Daubenberger & Clark is pleased to announce that our firm has recently undergone a number of organizational changes. Within the past couple of months, the firm has made a few changes in management to more effectively represent clients in these changing times, starting with the change of our firm name. The firm is no longer recognized as Musi, Malone & Daubenberger, but rather as Musi, Merkins, Daubenberger & Clark, LLP. We are pleased to add James Merkins, Esquire, a successful litigator with over twenty years of experience, as a named partner. In addition, we are delighted to name Lucas A. Clark, IV, Esquire as a partner to our law offices. Luke has been with the firm since 2005 when he began working as a paralegal while attending law school in the evening and now heads our family law division. As we navigate through these changes, we continue to focus on the many practice areas of law within our firm including, among others, personal injury, criminal defense, commercial litigation, construction law, family law, and estate planning. When suffering a car accident, slip and fall, or any type of personal injury, you may be eligible for financial compensation due to…

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