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Amendments Provide Clarity to Pennsylvania’s Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act

Pennsylvania’s Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act (the “Act”) became law in 1994 and outlined payment guidelines and protections for contractors and subcontractors in Pennsylvania’s private construction sector. The Act sets forth minimal payment timelines and procedures, defines what constitutes a wrongful withholding payment for completed work, and articulates any mandatory penalties (such as statutory interest, …

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Can you Protect your Claim in Bankruptcy?

Not all debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy. The key is to know which claims can be exempted from discharge and then what steps you, as a creditor, need to take to preserve your non-dischargeable claim.

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Can you Protect your Claim in Bankruptcy?

Not all debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy. The key is to know which claims can be exempted from discharge and then what steps you, as a creditor, need to take to preserve your non-dischargeable claim.

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Realty Transfer Tax and Long Term Leases Update

In October 2016, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled on Saturday Family LP v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The case focused on whether the commercial lease was subject to Pennsylvania realty transfer tax. In Pennsylvania, any lease that has a term of 30 years or more is subject to Pennsylvania’s realty transfer tax. In determining the …

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Changes to Pennsylvania Mechanic’s Lien Law Take Effect

Pennsylvania’s mechanic’s lien law is set to undergo changes for projects valued in excess of $1.5 million. The changes seek to improve notices between participants on the job, particularly notices involving subcontractors and second tier material suppliers, and to help avoid the filing of liens. Subcontractors and other second- and lower-tier contractors and material suppliers …

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New Legislation Allows Municipalities to Appoint Alternate Members of Planning Commissions

On October 7, 2015, Governor Wolf signed into law Act 42 of 2015 which amends Pennsylvania’s Municipalities Planning Code to permit municipalities to appoint up to three residents of the municipality as alternate members of the municipality’s planning commission. More specifically, Act 42 addresses appointment of alternative members of the planning commission and assigns them …

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What are the potential impacts of a pipeline easement on your Pennsylvania Property?

Chester County, Pennsylvania currently has a least two active pipeline projects winding through it. The Columbia Pipeline Group’s Eastside Expansion Project which runs from West Vincent to West Bradford, and Sunoco Logistics Mariner East 2 Project running from northwest to southeast Chester County. Hundreds of Chester County residents have been or will be approached with …

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Amendment Clarifies PA’s Permit Extension ACT

Amendments to Pennsylvania’s Permit Extension Act have clarified provisions suspending the expiration dates of certain approvals obtained by developers and property owners. On July 10th Governor Wolf signed into law Act 31 of 2015 which amends Pennsylvania’s Permit Extension Act, 53 P.S. § 11703.1 et seq. The change of most interest to developers/property owners …. …

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Amendment Clarifies PA’s Permit Extension ACT

Amendments to Pennsylvania’s Permit Extension Act have clarified provisions suspending the expiration dates of certain approvals obtained by developers and property owners. On July 10th Governor Wolf signed into law Act 31 of 2015 which amends Pennsylvania’s Permit Extension Act, 53 P.S. § 11703.1 et seq. The change of most interest to developers/property owners and …

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What You Need To Know About The Recent Changes To The Rules of Civil Procedure Governing E-mail and Other Forms of Electronic Discovery

It was not so long ago that courts would not allow a litigant to access another litigant’s computer drives unless some sort of good cause – a likelihood of document destruction or tampering – was first shown.  The ever-increasing use of computers and e-mail forced courts to re-examine this requirement.  As a result, in 2010, …

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West Chester Student Housing Prohibition

By: Donald C. Turner The West Chester Borough Council passed a resolution on February 15, 2012 instructing its solicitor to prepare an amendment to the West Chester Zoning Ordinance that would eliminate student homes as a permitted use in the Town Center zoning district. See: http://westchester.patch.com/articles/borough-recommends-a-stop-to-new-student-housing As a result those town center …

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Long Outdated Bid Limit Laws Updated by Pennsylvania Legislature

On November 3, 2011, Act 84 of 2011 was signed into law in Pennsylvania and becomes effective on January 1, 2012. Act 84 amends certain provisions of the Second Class Township Code which require Townships to advertise and seek bids for purchases and contracts of a certain minimum dollar amount.

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The Marcellus Shale Debate: Local Zoning or State Control?

By: Andrew D.H. Rau If momentum forms behind a bill introduced in Harrisburg, the traditional understandings of local zoning control in Pennsylvania could be in for a major adjustment.  The legislation sponsored by Senator Joseph Scarnati would provide for impact fees to be paid by Marcellus Shale drillers across the state.  But a component …

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Possible New Horizons for Deteriorated Properties – Tougher Enforcement on Neighborhood Blight coupled with Tax Relief might work to benefit Communities throughout Pennsylvania

The Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act (the “Act”) empowers municipalities to take legal action against owners of deteriorating properties and deny municipal permits in certain circumstances. Municipalities across Pennsylvania are drafting ordinances, and in many cases, are ready to adopt ordinances in order to implement the provisions of the Act in their respective …

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Who Is The Lowest Responsible Bidder?

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New Hospital Visitation Rights For Non-Traditional Families

By: Litigation Department Currently there are 25 states that have Hospital visitation laws in the form of relationship recognition laws (marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships) or separate visitation statutes. Pennsylvania is the only state in the northeast that does not have hospital visitation laws that provide for automatic recognition of nontraditional relationships. That means that …

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The Business Judgment Rule: Limited Protection For Corporate Decision Makers

Previously, I blogged about the “standing” requirements that must be satisfied if a shareholder or member of a corporation or other entity, like an LLC, wants to sue its officers, director or managers for mis- or malfeasance. That blog described the requirement for court certification that a plaintiff in such a derivative action adequately represents …

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Are Charter Schools Subject To Real Estate Taxes?

In an opinion and order dated March 16, 2010, the Commonwealth Court concluded that a property leased by a Pennsylvania charter school was not eligible for an exemption from the payment of real estate taxes. In the case of In Re: Appeal of Collegium Foundation and Collegium Charter School, the court concluded that …

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Are Charter Schools Subject To Real Estate Taxes?

In an opinion and order dated March 16, 2010, the Commonwealth Court concluded that a property leased by a Pennsylvania charter school was not eligible for an exemption from the payment of real estate taxes. In the case of In Re: Appeal of Collegium Foundation and Collegium Charter School, the court concluded that …

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Investors Beware of Alternative Investments

“Selling away” is when a broker leads an investor to investments that are not offered through their brokerage house. Investing in securities outside of your brokerage account can be extremely risky, because investors will miss important investor protections that flow from the broker’s and the firm’s regulatory obligations, including the firms supervision of the brokers …

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How to Navigate removal of a Residential Tenant that has filed Bankruptcy

By: Transactional Department No matter what the lease says, the mere filing of a bankruptcy by a tenant does not terminate the lease or entitle a landlord to evict the tenant. That being said, if a residential tenant files bankruptcy they are always required to continue paying rent. If they stop paying rent the landlord …

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Municipalities and Developers: Take A Closer Look At Settlement Agreements

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court’s recent decision in BPG Real Estate Investors v. Newtown Township may cause developers and townships to more carefully consider whether settlement agreements are reaching too far. The ultimate result may be courts refusing to approve such settlements. In the BPG decision, the Commonwealth Court determined that a settlement agreement between …

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The Rise of Wind Power – Changing Landscapes in Pennsylvania

The use of windmills as an energy source is on the rise and rapidly growing in Pennsylvania, even in residential neighborhoods. While windmill farms can be an interesting and peaceful sight from afar, the construction of a windmill in a backyard in a residential neighborhood may not be as welcoming. In the case Tink-Wing Mountain …

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Doing Business with Local Governments in Pennsylvania

Selling to and purchasing for local governments in Pennsylvania poses unique challenges because local government in Pennsylvania is very local. The Brookings Institution has calculated that Pennsylvania has 2,566 municipalities: 56 cities; 962 boroughs; 91 first class townships, and; 1,457 second class townships. This does not include Pennsylvania’s 501 school districts, …

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Will Outside Employment Affect Your PSERS Retirement Benefits?

The question of whether outside employment will impact your retirement benefits under the Public School Employees’ Retirement Code (“Retirement Code”) is one to consider carefully when reporting retirement contributions to the Public School Employees’ Retirement System (“PSERS”). Typically, teachers, administrators and other personnel employed in the Pennsylvania Public School System are eligible for membership in …

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Divorce : How Will Your Property Be Divided?

Upon the request of either party in a divorce action , a court shall divide, distribute or assign, the marital property between the parties without regard to marital misconduct in such percentages and in a manner that the court deems proper.  In dividing marital property, which is defined as property acquired during the marriage, the …

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Mechanics Lien Law Update

Contractors, subcontractors and material providers have various legal remedies for protecting themselves against general contractors and/or property owners who fail to pay for construction services and materials. One of these remedies is the Pennsylvania Mechanics Lien Law. This law permits contractors, subcontractors and material men, under some circumstances, to place a lien on the real …

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Joint Defense Privlege

Attorneys hoping to minimize cost and increase efficiency for their clients will often engage in communications or joint defenses with co-defendants. This is often done either informally or with the use of formal joint defense agreements. Although this practice is fairly common, there has been relatively little guidance from the court on issues raised, such …

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Can you Protect your Claim in Bankruptcy?

By: Transactional Department Not all debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy. The key is to know which claims can be exempted from discharge and then what steps you, as a creditor, need to take to preserve your non-dischargeable claim. For a primer on the steps you should take, click here. For more information, please contact …

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Paying Spousal and Child Support in Tough Economic Times

In today’s economy, family lawyers are often faced with the proposition that existing marital and child support obligations are financially overburdening to the payor. If you are a payor that has had a reduction in salary, what can you do? If you fall into this category, you should contact a lawyer immediately and ask him/her …

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Is a Defective Ordinance Always Ineffective?

Is a defective ordinance always ineffective? It all depends, according to a new decision of the Commonwealth Court. In Hawk v. the Eldred Township Board of Supervisors, —A.2d—(Pa. Commw. Ct. 2009), the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court discussed Section 5571.1 of the Judicial Code as well as related changes to Section 1002-A (b) of the Municipalities Planning …

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Piercing the Corporate Veil

By: Donald C. Turner To view a recent blog on how to protect your personal interest in a closely-held business entity, click here. for more information, please contact our office.

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Builders Can No Longer Provide Seller Financing to New Buyers

By: Transactional Department Pennsylvania’s new Mortgage Loan Industry Licensing and Consumer Protection Law, intended to provide better government control over mortgage lending practices, was amended in August 2009. The law requires that, in almost every instance, anyone issuing a loan primarily for personal, family or household use, which is secured by a mortgage on residential …

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Be Aware of Threshold Requirements for Mismanagement and Malfeasance Claims Against Managers and Directors

The economic conditions of the past two years have caused many shareholders or members of corporations and other entities to review management’s actions in a critical light. These reviews, almost inevitably, will result in claims for mismanagement or malfeasance that will lead to litigation. Both the plaintiffs and the defendants in these matters should be …

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

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, the Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement …

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Constitutional Right of Privacy v. Right-to-Know Law Round One – Privacy Rights Win

The Pennsylvania State Education Association and employees recently sought a preliminary injunction against the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records to prevent the disclosure of their home addresses pursuant to the Right-to-Know Law. In a recent Order and Opinion, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has determined that public school employees’ privacy interest in their home addresses outweighs …

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Be Careful Before Teeing Off

By: Theodore F. Claypoole In Zeidman v. Fisher, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania found that general negligence principles applied to a case involving an injury caused by an errant “duck hook” shot on a golf course. After teeing off on the 17th hole, Plaintiff, with the agreement of his longer driving playing partners (which …

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U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Student Search Rules in Strip Search Case

A United States Supreme Court decision issued on June 25 clarified an issue that may be of interest to school districts. The issue is: what constitutes a reasonable search of a student when a school employee has a reasonable suspicion that the student may have narcotics or other contraband on her person. The Court’s discussion …

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US Supreme Court Clarifies Student Strip Search Rules

A United States Supreme Court decision issued on June 25 clarified an issue that may be of interest to school districts. For more information about how this decision may impact your school district’s search policies and procedures or your student’s rights, read this post on our Municipal and Land Use Blog or contact …

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Bidding on a Pennsylvania State Agency Contract? What you need to know.

Are you bidding (or contemplating bidding) on state agency contracts? Do you know when a bidder on a construction contract can file a bid protest? Recent court decisions raise questions about when a bidder on a construction contract with a Pennsylvania state agency can file a bid protest. Prospective bidders who wish to challenge the …

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How to Navigate Client and Customer Bankruptcies

By: Transactional Department With the current economy, more and more people are filing bankruptcy. If you are a bank or business owner then it is likely you have had to deal with a client or customer bankruptcy at least once. If you haven’t, you probably will have to in the months to come. So what …

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My Investments are Depreciating: Do I Have a Claim?

The fact that your investment has decreased in value or that you, like millions of others, have lost money does not automatically mean that your broker or brokerage firm has engaged in actionable misconduct. Almost all investments involve risk and there is no bailout when you lose money in risk appropriate investments. However, if your …

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Builder Clients ALERT

Update on coverage for claims involving faulty workmanship under commercial general liability policies On December 30, 2008, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied the Petition for Allowance of Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Superior Court in the case of Millers Capital Ins. Co. v. Gambone Bros. Dev. Co., 941 A.2d 706 (Pa. Super. 2007). …

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New FMLA Regulations effective January 16, 2009

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has published a final rule that became effective January 16, 2009, which is available at http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/finalrule.htm. This rule updates the Family and Medical Leave Act regulations. For more information about how the new regulations may effect you, please contact our office.

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New FMLA Regulations effective January 16, 2009

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has published a final rule that will become effective January 16, 2009 which is available at http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/finalrule.htm.  This rule updates the …

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New FMLA Regulations effective January 16, 2009

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has published a final rule that will become effective January 16, 2009 which is available at http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/finalrule.htm.  This rule updates the …

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New FERPA Regulations–Effective January 8, 2009

  The Department of Education has published a final rule that will become effective January 8, 2009 which is available at http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/finrule/2008-4/120908a.pdf.  This rule updates the Family Education Rights and …

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New FERPA Regulations–Effective January 8, 2009

  The Department of Education has published a final rule that will become effective January 8, 2009 which is available at http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/finrule/2008-4/120908a.pdf.  This rule updates the Family Education Rights and …

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Case Summaries

Over the next few posts we’ll be including some case summaries that may be helpful to you and your land development planning.    McGrath Construction, Inc. v. …

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Welcome

Welcome to the Municipal Section’s blog.  This blog will address current laws, interesting trends and legal issues affecting municipalities, authorities, school districts, developers and property owners in and around West Chester and Chester County, Pennsylvania. Please bookmark and …

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Stephen P. Lagoy Serves as Mediator at ABA’s Regional Mediation Competition

Stephen P. Lagoy served as a mediator and judge at the American Bar Association’s Representation in Mediation Regional Competition held at the University of Maryland School of Law on February 23. Participating were ten teams representing the law schools of Emory University, the University of Buffalo, the University of Florida, the University of Maryland, …

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Brian Boreman Speaks at Lehigh Valley SHRM Annual Conference

Brian Boreman is a presenter at the 2018 Lehigh Valley Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference being held October 1st and 2nd 2018 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Brian heads the firm’s Labor & Employment practice and is the Co-Chair of the Litigation Department. Brian’s presentation, An Overview of the Fair Labor …

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Founding Partner Ross Unruh Listed in Best Lawyers 2019

We are pleased to announce that Ross Unruh, a founding member of the firm, has been named to the 2019 Best Lawyers list for Land Use and Zoning Law. Best Lawyers is among the oldest and most respected peer review publications in the legal profession. Recognition in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by clients …

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Every Partner at UTBF Named a 2018 Top Lawyer

The results are in… Every partner in our firm was named among the 2018 “Top Lawyers” We are pleased to announce that 17 attorneys at Unruh Turner Burke & Frees, including all partners, are named to Main Line Today’s “Top Lawyers” list for 2018. Alternative Dispute Resolution Nancy J. Glidden* …

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UTBF Volunteers Spend Morning Working at Pete’s Produce Farm to Benefit Chester County Food Bank

Investing in our community is important to Unruh Turner Burke & Frees. We recently demonstrated our support by participating in Chester County Food Bank’s Volunteer Program. On Friday, July 20th, volunteers spent the morning weeding and harvesting vegetables at Pete’s Produce Farm. Pete’s Produce Farm, located in West Chester, designates over 5 acres of land …

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Nancy Glidden Presents CLE on Real Estate Tax Exemption

Attorney Nancy J. Glidden presented a CLE program for the Chester County Bar Association’s Real Estate Section on July 11, 2018, on the topic of real estate tax exemptions for, “actual places of regularly stated religious worship.” Nancy discussed the statutory authority for religious-based real estate tax exemptions under the Pennsylvania Constitution, and the …

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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