Blog Posts

PA Supreme Court Eliminates Parent Coordinators in Child Custody Cases

August 5, 2013

As of this summer, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted Rule of Civil Procedure 1915.11-1, which abolished the use of parent coordinators in Pennsylvania child custody cases.  The new rule states that only judges may make decisions in child custody cases, which also includes hearing officers/masters, and therefore the courts shall not appoint any other individual to make decisions or recommendations or alter a custody order in child custody cases.  This new rule reflects the Court’s concern with judicial following recent controversies in two different counties regarding juvenile placement and guardians ad litem.  While the decision to abolish the coordinators favors transparency and will contribute to more direct accountability for decisions in child custody court, a lot of family law practitioners believe that the program had value and instead should have been tweaked instead of scrapped.  Some believe that the parent coordinators were helpful for the parents, attorneys, and courts while other believe the courts were outsourcing too much judicial authority to coordinators who often knew little of the law.  According to the Rule, any Orders that have previously appointed parent coordinators have been vacated as of May 23, 2013.

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Lucas A. Clark, IV, Esq. to Provide the Delaware County Perspective at Regional Family Law CLE

June 3, 2013

MM&D Family Law Attorney Lucas A. Clark, IV will be providing the Delaware County perspective on Family Law Discovery Issues as part of a panel of distinguished Family Law Attorneys.  The presentation has been approved for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit, whereby practicing attorneys can receive credit towards their annual legal education requirement.  The presentation will take place at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s CLE Conference Center on June 13, 2013.  The Session is entitled:  The Family Lawyer’s Discovery Tool Kit. The panel will be giving an overview of the formal and informal discovery tools and methods, there will be a discussion of the forms and pros and cons of various discovery tools; they will address strategic discovery and complex discovery issues such as privilege, third-parties, confidentiality, HIPAA, independent medical examiners, and experts; they will explore court intervention and enforcement of discovery issues with applicable case law; and they will discuss county-specific procedural information for Southeastern Pennsylvania’s five counties for which Attorney Luke Clark will be the Delaware County representative. Mr. Clark’s materials will include a Delaware County Motion for Case Management, a Discovery Order, a Pretrial Statement, a Pretrial Inventory and Appraisement, an Equitable Distribution Hearing Notice, a Hearing Officer’s…

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Partner William Malone, Jr. successfully argues to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.

April 22, 2013

Partner and practicing Delaware County workers’ compensation attorney William E. Malone, Jr. recently received a favorable decision from the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania regarding a developing area of the law.  In the case of Jean Fitchett v. WCAB (School District of Philadelphia), 2013 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 95 (Pa. Commw. 2013), it was successfully argued that the Claimant voluntarily removed herself from the workforce based upon “totality of circumstances”, entitling employer to a suspension of benefits.   The Claimant had argued that the correct definition of “retirement” should have been her inability to return to her pre-injury job; however, the Commonwealth Court correctly noted that this was a misinterpretation of the law, and that she bore the burden of proving that her work injury precluded her from returning to any job in the workforce. The court also rejected Claimant’s allegation that her Due Process rights were violated due to the Workers’ Compensation Judge issuing an order allowing the employer to take credits and offsets based on claimant’s receipt of pension and Social Security Retirement.  However, the court pointed to 34 Pa.  Code Section 123.4, which allows employer to take a credit unilaterally.

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American Red Cross Honors MM&D Partner Thomas A. Musi, Jr.

February 25, 2013

Founding partner and practicing Delaware County Family Law attorney, Thomas A. Musi, Jr., has had a long standing roll on the Board of the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania.  In a recent list of honorees, Tom has been recognized for his continued financial and organizational support of the American Red Cross.  Tom also dedicates time to support local breast cancer research and the Delaware County Domestic Abuse Project.

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Return of Property Successfully Litigated

February 12, 2013

At a full hearing in court, MM&D successfully argued on behalf of its client gaining the return of his vehicle. As a result of an undercover operation conducted by the Delaware County District Attorney‘s Countywide Narcotics Task Force, the client’s vehicle (a paid-for Dodge Ram truck) was seized by the Commonwealth.  The vehicle’s occupants were convicted of using the vehicle to deliver narcotics to undercover officers.  MM&D’s attorney filed a Petition for Return of Property and objected to the Commonwealth’s Forfeiture Petition.  After unsuccessful negotiations the matter proceeded to a full hearing in court.  At the end of the hearing, the Judge ruled in favor of our client and ordered the Commonwealth to return the vehicle to our client.  The client was able to pick up his truck from impound two days later. The satisfied client had this to say about his case in a letter sent to the firm: “Thank you very much for your due diligence regarding the return of property: my Dodge Ram Truck. I appreciate the time, effort, and your legal expertise demonstrated by you on my behalf in our conferences and the courtroom.  You handled this case with finesse.”    

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