We Listen.

The Deadline Approaches …

By: Amanda Sundquist Statements of Financial Interest are not just for candidates running for office. Public officials (individuals currently serving elected or appointed offices) and certain public employees are required to annually file the Statement by May 1st. Local (county, township, borough, or school district) public officials and employees file …

Read More

Modernizing Housing Ordinances

By: Amanda J. Sundquist The White House has released a tool kit to help municipalities modernize zoning regulations related to housing. The tool kit suggests a number of potential starting points that a local government can use to encourage growth opportunities and affordable housing. Some suggestions include: Streamlining …

Read More

To Enroll or Not to Enroll, That is the Question: Educational Records

By: Amanda J. Sundquist School administrators and administrative staff are often faced with a number of challenging issues regarding enrollment of new students. A common issue is whether a school district can register a child where the school district has not received the child’s prior educational records, including disciplinary records. A school district …

Read More

To Enroll or Not to Enroll, That is the Question: Immunizations

By: Amanda Sundquist With the start of the school year, school administrators and administrative staff are often faced with a number of challenging issues regarding enrollment of new students. A common issue is whether a school district can register a child that does not have the required proof of immunization. A school district …

Read More

Office for Civil Rights Guidance on Student Enrollment

By: Amanda Sundquist The Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) updated its previous “Dear Colleague” letter issued in 2011 regarding public schools’ obligations for student enrollment. Public schools may not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, citizenship or immigration status of a student (or his/her parent or guardian) in regard …

Read More

New Concussion Standards for School Districts

By: Amanda Sundquist On November 9, 2011, the “Safety in Youth Sports Act” was signed into law.  The Act addresses concussion and head injury risks for student athletes and the education of the coaching staff. School districts have new parent notification obligations under the Act.  Prior to participation of a student athlete in an …

Read More

Obligations under the Equal Access Act

By: Amanda Sundquist Following up on its recent guidance on bullying and harassment, on June 14, 2011 the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued a “Dear Colleagues” letter regarding the impact of the Equal Access Act (the “Act”) on gay-straight alliances (GSA) and similar student-initiated groups addressing LGBT issues. OCR reminds …

Read More

New Guidance on Student Enrollment

By: Amanda Sundquist The United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has recently issued a “Dear Colleague” letter regarding school district enrollment practices. The letter focuses on practices that may discourage enrollment of students based on their or their parents’ actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status. Under federal …

Read More

First Amendment Case Filed in Response to School District Ban

By: Amanda Sundquist Two middle school students have brought a First Amendment law suit against the Easton Area School District in the United State District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  The District banned the wearing of “I (heart) Boobies” bracelets distributed by the Keep A Breast Foundation.  The students …

Read More

United States Department of Education Addresses School Bullying and Harassment

By: Amanda J. Sundquist On October 26, 2010, the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, issued a “Dear Colleagues” letter addressing school districts’ obligations in regard to bullying and harassment of students.  The letter encourages school districts to review their bullying and harassment policies and practices to ensure compliance with …

Read More

Court Rules on Sunshine Act Exception

By:  Amanda Sundquist In a matter of first impression, the Commonwealth Court has concluded that the Sunshine Act may be violated when property owners are permitted to participate in an executive session for litigation purposes related to a tax assessment appeal.  In Trib Total Media v. Highland School District, at the conclusion of a …

Read More

School Districts Review Handbooks & Policies for Consistency

[flv:https://www.utbf.com/school-law/videos/Amanda_Sundquist_01.mov.FLV 450 250] By: Amanda Sundquist Watch the above video to find out why it is important for your school district to review student handbooks and school board policies for consistency.  Give Amanda a call at (610) 692-137 if you would like to discuss your district’s student handbook and school board policies.

Read More

New Title IX Compliance Guidance

By: Amanda J.  Sundquist The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for the U.S. Department of Education has issued new guidance regarding Title IX compliance for intercollegiate and interscholastic athletic programs. The new guidance withdraws OCR’s 2005 guidance and provides additional clarification on compliance with part three of the three part Title IX test. …

Read More

En Banc Rehearing on Free Speech Decisions Granted

By: Amanda Sundquist As discussed in my February 18, 2010 and April 12, 2010 blog entries on free speech, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reached conflicting results in two student free speech cases: Layshock v. Hermitage School District and J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District.  The …

Read More

Township Pursues Chapter 9 Bankruptcy

By: Amanda Sundquist Westfall Township is believed to be the first Pennsylvania municipality to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. The Township sought Chapter 9 protection to force negotiations on a $20 million federal judgment entered in favor of a developer. Chapter 9 was used to reduce the award to $6 million, which …

Read More

Searching Student Electronic Devices

By: Amanda Sundquist Much attention has been focused recently on the alleged laptop webcam spying in Lower Merion School District. One of facts of the case is the possible violation of Pennsylvania’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act, an act with implications for all school districts. Even before this video incident, technology and …

Read More

DEP Employees Found Unprotected by Sovereign Immunity

By: Amanda Sundquist In an unusual verdict, a jury for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, in MFS, Inc. v Dilazaro, has found four Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection employees individually liable for $6.5 million dollars in damages. Typically, government workers are protected by the doctrine of …

Read More

Request for Clarification on Free Speech Decisions

By: Amanda J. Sundquist As discussed in my February 18, 2010 blog entry, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reached conflicting results in two student free speech cases: Layshock v. Hermitage School District and J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District.  An article in the Legal Intelligencer reports …

Read More

Free Speech Decisions

By: Amanda J. Sundquist The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has issued new, and competing student free speech decisions.  The cases names are becoming familiar to school districts across the region: Layshock v. Hermitage School District and J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District.  Both cases address the …

Read More

Free Speech Decisions

By: Amanda J. Sundquist The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has issued new, and competing student free speech decisions.  The cases names are becoming familiar to school districts across the region: Layshock v. Hermitage School District and J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District.  Both cases address the …

Read More

Who May Participate in Public School Extracurricular Activities?

By: Amanda J. Sundquist In Trefelner v. Burrell School District, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania issued a temporary restraining order to compel a school district to permit a parochial school student to participate in extracurricular activities offered by the school district, including marching and jazz bands. Pennsylvania’s Public …

Read More

New Earned Income Tax Consolidation Resources

By: Amanda J. Sundquist The Department of Community and Economic Development has released its report “Earned Income Tax Consolidation Best Practices Report.” This resource may be helpful to school districts and municipalities which are navigating through the consolidation of the earned income tax collection system. For assistance utilizing information in the Report or …

Read More

First Anniversary of the New Right-to-Know Law

By: Amanda J. Sundquist January 2010 marks the first anniversary of the implementation of the new Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law. The past year has been a year of firsts for local agencies, requesters, and the Office of Open Records as the law has been implemented and interpreted. Sixty-five determinations by the Office of Open Records …

Read More

First Anniversary of the New Right-to-Know Law

By: Amanda J. Sundquist January 2010 marks the first anniversary of the implementation of the new Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law. The past year has been a year of firsts for local agencies, requesters, and the Office of Open Records as the law has been implemented and interpreted. Sixty-five determinations by the Office of Open Records …

Read More

How far can public school officials go in regulating student speech?

By: Amanda J. Sundquist How far can public school officials go in regulating student speech?  The traditional rule is that officials can quell speech that creates a “substantial disruption” of the educational process.  Now, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit appears to have provided school officials in the Fifth Circuit …

Read More

School Employers and Teachers Should Be Cautious When Entering into Emergency Contracts

By: Land Use and Zoning Secttion School employers, retired teachers, administrators and other personnel should use caution when entering into emergency contracts for temporary, post-retirement employment. Generally, employers may hire retired teachers, administrators and other personnel under temporary contracts when there is an emergency, or in the event of a shortage of appropriate personnel. However, …

Read More

Plan Opposition By Board of Supervisors Members

By: Amanda J. Sundquist In ,Crandell v. Pennsbury Township Board of Supervisors, et al. — A.2d — (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2009), the Commonwealth Court addressed public opposition to a plan by a Township Board of Supervisors member.  Fenton, a resident who ultimately became a board member, formed a group to oppose a developer’s plans.  …

Read More

Decision Issued on Entities Permitted to Conduct Plan Reviews and Inspections in Municipalities

By: Amanda J. Sundquist The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled on whether municipalities that opt to enforce the Pennsylvania Construction Code Act (“Act”) may designate one entity to administer, enforce, and conduct all plan review and inspections mandated by the Act to exclusion of other code officials. Under the Act, municipalities were required to …

Read More

Dedicated or Donated Property

By: Amanda Sundquist Does your municipality have dedicated or donated property?  Are you considering changing the use of that property? In a recent case, the City of Erie filed a petition under the Donated or Dedicated Property Act to abandon the use of dedicated public property known as the Erie Golf Course for …

Read More

Timing is Everything

By: Amanda J. Sundquist Nextel Partners, Inc. v. Clarks Summit Borough/Clarks Summit Borough Council, 958 A.2d 587 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2008). In Nextel, an applicant submitted an incomplete conditional use application.  The Borough Council held a hearing on the application 82 days after its receipt; the applicant asserted it was entitled to a deemed …

Read More

Sorry, no results were found.

Sophisticated, Responsive and Focused.

  • “At Unruh Turner Burke & Frees, the client’s objective is never lost in the details and as a result, even complex deals get done quickly and efficiently..."

    Read More...

  • “Unruh Turner Burke & Frees has been a tremendous resource to me and my team throughout the past 17+ years. This highly-talented group delivers the...”

    Read More...

  • “Unruh Turner Burke & Frees has been a trusted source of advice and counsel on all levels of governmental law and regulation, from zoning and land use...”

    Read More...

  • "Our Trust Department has utilized Unruh Turner Burke & Frees’ expertise for several years to assist our clients with their overall estate plans. They..."

    Read More...

  • “Over the last 25 years Unruh Turner Burke & Frees has represented our residential building and development enterprise in many capacities including real..."

    Read More...

  • "Based on my long-term relationship with Unruh Turner Burke & Frees, I can wholeheartedly recommend its services to any business owner who wishes to work with...”

    Read More...

  • “We recently hired Unruh Turner Burke & Frees to handle a conditional use application for our Chestnut Street Lofts apartment project in downtown West Chester..."

    Read More...

  • “I have been working with Unruh Turner Burke & Frees for many years. They have provided legal counsel in the areas of Estate Planning, Land Use, Litigation and...”

    Read More...

  • “I have relied on the firm's legal advice to make critical decisions on handling family wealth and making appropriate decisions for my family's future.”

    Read More...

  • “… This highly-talented group delivers the highest quality legal work and brings real-world experience in a very cost-effective manner…”

    Read More...

  • "If there is an issue facing a municipality, Unruh Turner Burke & Frees is the source for sound guidance and direction.”

    Read More...

  • “…They have provided legal counsel in the areas of Estate Planning, Land Use, Litigation and Real Estate. In every one of those areas I have been blessed with great ...”

    Read More...

  • "Whether we are competing in a strong market or working through a declining market, it has always been reassuring to know that Unruh Turner Burke & Frees has both..."

    Read More...

meet our elite team
West Chester, PA
17 West Gay Street
P.O. BOX 515
West Chester, PA 19380
(610) 692-1371
Phoenixville, PA
120 Gay Street
P.O. Box 289
Phoenixville, PA 19460
(610) 933-8069
Paoli, PA
43 Leopard Road, Building II
Suite 103
Paoli, PA 19301
(610) 240-0750