Blog Posts

Auto Accident? Full Tort or Limited Tort – Why it Matters

October 22, 2021

There are an overwhelming amount of car accidents occurring and this trend has been seen for a very long time. In total, there is in excess of two hundred fifty million vehicles that are registered in the United States. In the early 2000’s, we saw approximately six million car accidents in the first few years. There are many different causes of car accidents, but a majority of these accidents are solely the result of someone acting negligently. A number of these negligent acts include someone not adhering to a particular motor vehicle law. For example, 75 Pa.C.S.A. §3112 (a)(3) of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code states that an individual must stop at an intersection if there is a solid red light. Failure to stop at this solid red light may cause an accident, and thus be considered negligent by the statute. This is just one example of a negligent act that can cause motor vehicle accidents. The millions of motor vehicle accidents that occur result in personal injury claims for recovery of economic and noneconomic damages. In turn, insurance companies have become overwhelmed with claims. Pennsylvania and New Jersey hold some of the highest insurance claims in the nation, with…

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Factors Considered in Trial for Primary Physical Custody

October 11, 2021

The head of Musi, Merkins, Daubenberger & Clark, LLP’s Family Law Department, Lucas A. Clark, IV, Esquire, was retained to take a custody case to trial that involved two parents operating under a 50/50 shared physical custody order who were both fighting for primary physical custody of their 15-year-old son.  The parties had this shared physical custody arrangement in place for years and lived very close to one another.  However, throughout this case and at trial, Luke focused mainly on the co-parenting issues between the parties that needed to be highlighted in order to show the Court that primary physical custody should be awarded to his client, who is the mother of the child.  Additionally, some major points highlighted during the trial that helped Luke obtain this victory were the well-reasoned preference of the child based on the child’s maturity and judgment as well as the attempts of one of the parents to turn the child against the other parent.  The Court found both of these factors to be in favor of the mother and this ultimately led the Court to find that the 16 factors of the Best Interest Test, which the Court is required to set forth and…

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CDC – Federal Moratorium on Evictions – Update

August 27, 2021

The End of Moratorium On August 26, 2021, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Moratorium on evictions is unconstitutional. The Court found that the CDC did not have the constitutional authority to issue a national moratorium, and any further moratorium would need to come from the legislature. The federal moratorium on evictions was previously extended until October 3, 2021, for all United States counties facing a high spread of coronavirus. Practically speaking, this accounted for 95% of the nation. With the latest Supreme Court Ruling, that extension is over. What Does this Mean for Landlords? Many landlords across Pennsylvania have not been receiving regular rent since the first CDC moratorium went into effect in 2020.  Some landlords have not received any rent at all.  With the latest Supreme Court ruling, landlords are once again free to seek eviction of tenants who are past due on rent. While the moratorium stayed evictions, it did not stay the requirement for rent. With the moratorium now over, landlords may freely seek all past due rent, and eviction. Depending upon the lease agreement, landlords may also seek a judgment for any attorney fees,…

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Expungements in Pennsylvania

August 3, 2021

What is an Expungement? An expungement is the process the removing criminal charges from a person’s record. Only certain people qualify for expungement. If an expungement is granted, the court will order all agencies with a record of the arrest or conviction erased. Why are expungements important? A criminal history can greatly impact a person’s life.  A record can hinder a person’s ability to secure employment, professional licensing (nursing, contractors, therapists etc..), education, adoption, and housing.  Without an expungement, a background check will show all charges, regardless of whether you were found innocent or guilty. Who is Eligible for expungement? Only certain people are eligible for expungement. The following qualify: Individuals accepted into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program (ARD). Persons charged, but never convicted. Those people 21 or older, who were convicted of underage drinking at or over the age of 18, who have satisfied all the conditions of their sentence, including but not limited to drivers license suspension. Persons who are 70 years or older and have been free from conviction for 10 or more years. Persons found guilty of a summary offense, who have been free from arrest for 5 or more years following the conviction. Persons whose…

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July 27, 2021

A recent case taken on by the head of our Family Law Department, Lucas A. Clark, IV, Esquire, is a prime example of the type of Children and Youth Services matters handled by Musi, Merkins, Daubenberger & Clark.  The matter began at the trial court level in the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County with three different hearings on three separate dates earlier this year.  During these proceedings, which involved CYS, two minor children and their mother, the focus was on the children’s mother’s mental health and substance abuse issues, as well as her ability to parent.  While reunification between the children and their mother was the original goal pursued by the Court and CYS in these hearings, that goal was eventually abandoned, and the agency pursued termination of the mother’s parental rights.  The trial court, after hearing all of the evidence and witness testimony that was provided to the Court, and discussing the needs of the children, ultimately terminated the mother’s parental rights.  The trial court felt that the current placement of the children was good situation for them, and it would be in their best interest if they stayed there.  Lastly, the Court confirmed that the goal…

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