Reported Cases

Mr. Lederach has handled the following cases with sufficient significance for the development of the law to have been chosen for publication by legal reporting services:

Twp. of Salem v. Miller Penn Dev. LLC
2016 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 238 (2016)(although the doctrine of nullum tempus occurrit regi (time does not run against the king) does not apply to actions brought by local government to enforce purely contractual rights, the doctrine applies when local government seeks to enforce contracts which embody strictly public rights established by statute. Accordingly, the defendant’s statute of limitation defense failed).
Cardinale et al. v. R.E. Gas Development, LLC et al.,
2017 Pa. Super. LEXIS 34, 2017 Pa. Super. 13 (2017)(where the evidence plaintiffs presented in support of their motion for class certification demonstrated that common questions of law and fact predominated over individual questions, the trial court’s order denying class certification solely on the basis that common questions were not predominant was vacated as an abuse of discretion).
CAP Glass, Inc. v. Coffman,
2016 Pa. Super. LEXIS 12 (2016) (no exception for spouses’ fraudulent activities applies to the confidential marital communications privilege established by 42 Pa.C.S. § 5923 of the Pennsylvania statutes. Any such exception will have to come from the legislature or the Supreme Court).
Pfeifer v. Westmoreland County Tax Claim Bureau,
2015 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 506 (2015) (even though plaintiffs had no actual notice that the Tax Claim Bureau had sold their 267 acres of oil and gas rights because the Bureau failed to notify them as required by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Tax Sale Law, the tax sale deed recorded after the sale of the plaintiffs’ oil and gas rights was sufficient constructive notice so that their challenge to such sale on due process grounds was barred by the applicable six-year statute of limitations and by laches).
In re: Estate of Vera J. Vance, deceased,
95 Westmoreland L.J. 107 (2013) (surcharge is the penalty for an executor’s failure to exercise common prudence, skill and caution in the performance of his duties. One who attempts to surcharge a personal representative for failure to administer property of a decedent’s estate must (1) identify the missing property; (2) prove that it was owned by the decedent at the time of her death; and (3) prove that such property had value so that the alleged failure to administer resulted in loss to the estate).
Cardinale et al. v. R.E. Gas Development, LLC,
74 A.3d 136 (Pa. Super. 2013) (where the parties manifested an intent to be bound by oil and gas lease agreements the terms of which were definite and supported by consideration, the provisions of related “orders for payment” were not conditions precedent to the formation of a contract and did not permit the gas company to terminate the leases at will).
Mason v. Range Resources,
2012 WL 2116969 (W.D. Pa. 2012) (the United States District Court predicted that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania will recognize a cause of action for tortious interference with an existing, at-will employment relationship).
Ferguson v. Cremation Society of Pennsylvania,
89 Westmoreland L. J. 181, 2007 Pa. D. & C. Lexis 315 (2007) (an unlicensed seller of cremation services was engaged in the practice of funeral directing in violation of the Pennsylvania Funeral Director Law).
Estate of Kern v. Kern,
2005 Pa. Super. Ct. 422, 892 A.2d 1 (2005) (the doctrine of laches is applicable where the difficulty of doing justice arises because the principal participants in the transactions complained of are dead, or because the original transactions are so obscured by time as to render the ascertainment of the exact facts impossible).
In re: Consolidated Return of Sale of Properties for Delinquent Taxes,
87 Westmoreland L.J. 175 (2005) (where an owner had no actual notice of the upset tax sale of her oil and gas rights, such tax sale was aside as void. Moreover, because the Pennsylvania General Assembly had never authorized the separate taxation of oil and gas rights, the tax assessment upon which the upset sale was based was also invalid).
Ferguson v. Lower Tyrone Township,
04 Fayette L. J. 198 (2004) (a plaintiff’s failure to obtain written consent of the owner of property before entering into a sublease agreement with a tenant of such property was fatal to the plaintiff’s claim for declaratory judgment that the owner had unreasonably denied consent to the sublease).
Estate of Kern v. Kern,
03 Fayette L. J. 126 (2003) (where a claim for equitable accounting was brought by the estate of a former partner against his co-partner’s heirs more than a decade after the dissolution of the partnership, such claim was barred by laches).
Aguilar v. Dee,
85 Westmoreland L. J. 15 (2002) (in order for a contractor to file a claim pursuant to the Pennsylvania Mechanic’s Lien Law for the cost of improvements made to real estate pursuant to an agreement with the tenant of such property, the contractor must have obtained the owner’s written consent to the tenant’s improvements).
In re: Estate of Pratt,
02 Fayette L. J. 319 (2002) (where a personal representative’s proposed distribution was inconsistent with the provisions of a decedent’s will, objections to the proposed distribution were dismissed where such distribution was proposed in accordance to the terms of an agreement made among the beneficiaries after the decedent’s death).
In the Interest of Cossell,
00 Fayette L. J. 4 (2000) (the issue of whom to appoint as the guardian of an incapacitated person is similar to that inherent in child custody cases: the court must determine what is in the best interest of the incapacitated person).
Hernley Family Trust v. Fayette County Zoning Hearing Board,
722 A.2d 1115 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1998) (a producer of natural gas is not “public utility” for purposes of a zoning ordinance because it does not distribute and sell natural gas directly to the public for consumption. As such, a zoning permit issued to the gas company for the construction of a natural gas compressor site on agricultural land was vacated because not authorized by the zoning ordinance in question.).
Laurelville Mennonite Church Center v. Westmoreland County Board of Assessment Appeals,
81 Westmoreland L. J. 29 (1998) (Under the Pennsylvania Institutions of Purely Public Charity Act a landowner is entitled to an exemption of real property from taxation as a purely public charity where such landowner (a) uses the property to advance a charitable purpose; (b) operates without a profit motive; (c) donates or renders gratuitously a substantial portion of its services; (d) benefits a substantial and identifiable class of persons who are the legitimate subjects of charity; and (e) relieves the government of some of its burden).
Cavanaugh v. Fayette County Zoning Hearing Board,
700 A.2d 1353 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1997) (although a fact finder’s observation of the demeanor of witnesses has traditionally been viewed as an important factor in determining credibility, administrative adjudicators are permitted to determine the credibility of testimony from the reading transcripts of testimony. Therefore, an adjudicative method where the ultimate decision in a case is made by an administrative fact finder who did not hear live testimony does not deny a litigant due process of law).
In re: Estate of Haller,
95 Fayette L. J. 65 (1995) (a properly executed signature card for the creation of a joint bank account is prima facie evidence that the party funding the joint account intended to make an inter vivos gift to the other joint account holder).
Cavanaugh v. Fayette County Zoning Hearing Board,
94 Fayette L. J. 10 (1994) (“Spot zoning” is defined as the singling out of one small area of land for special treatment so as to create an island of land zoned unjustifiably differently from the surrounding district. Accordingly, a zoning hearing board’s decision to permit the construction of a trucking depot on agricultural land was vacated as an invalid “spot zoning”).
In the Interest of Roy,
423 Pa. Super. Ct. 183, 620 A.2d 1172 (1993) (an heir-at-law lacks standing to waive the confidentiality provisions of the Pennsylvania Mental Health Procedures Act).
Stewart v. Evans,
90 Fayette L. J. 85 (1990) (well-established rules of survey interpretation govern boundary disputes including (a) that an existing fence will be accepted as a boundary line only if there is other evidence that it was intended as such, and (b) where a street or road is called for as a boundary in a legal description the land is deemed to run to the center of such street or road).
Upton v. Upton,
85 Fayette L. J. 133 (1985) (the court granted bifurcation of a divorce action from an equitable distribution claim so a husband could remarry in order to legitimatize his daughter).