Opinions

Archived Opinion Summaries from 2012 to April 2019 CLICK HERE
Recent Opinion Summaries published in the Butler County Legal Journal:

 

2019

 

BCLJ: 3/15/19 Vol. 27 No. 33

 

BEINING V. ZABLOCKI ET AL

(AD No. 15-10406, December 18, 2018, Yeager, J.)

Exclusive possession of oil and gas by a co-tenant does not require for a well to physically be drilled on the property.

 

MOLLICA ET UX V. WINEGARDNER-HAMMONS, INC. ET AL

(AD No. 16-10655, December 19, Doerr, P.J.)

When Plaintiff fails to notify Defendant of possible litigation and a duty of preservation of evidence, Defendant cannot be obligated to preserve evidence. When no other evidence is presented of negligence by Plaintiff, summary judgment in favor of Defendant is appropriate.

 

MITCHELL V. MITCHELL ET AL

(AD No. 16-10655, December 19, 2018, Doerr, P.J.)

A Shareholder has the right to review the books of a corporation, even when said shareholder is an Estate.

 

SPINK V. COUNTY OF BUTLER ET AL

(MsD. 18-40111, November 5, 2018, Doerr, P.J.)

An appeal nunc pro tunc is permissble when Plaintiff was in a medically induced coma during the appeal period.

 

WALKER V. KRESS

(FC No. 17-90586-C, October 1, 2018, Streib, J.)

A desire for pure 50/50 testimony can cause inconsistencies in testimony and place the other party in a light more negative than facts can support. Parents should work toward harmony to support the children, not just 50/50 custody.

 

HEDGES V. HEDGES

(FC No. 17-906186-C, October 1, 2018, Streib, J.)

Sole legal custody may be necessary in order to benefit the child. A history of conflict among parties and mental illness of a party may lead to sole legal custody being given to one parent.

 

BCLJ: 3/8/19 Vol. 27 No. 32

 

WARBURTON V. GAUDINO

(FC No. 04-90068-C, February 19, 2019, Valasek, J.)

A child’s preference for relocation can be taken into account if child’s reasons are articulate and not forced by either party.

 

FRNDAK-SUDER V. REISER

(FC No. 2012-90560-C, January 31, 2019, McCune, J.)

Court may consider the opinion of the evaluator, but it is not required to accept the conclusions when sufficient evidence exists to the contrary.

 

WATER STOPPERS, INC., V. SMITH ET AL

(AD No. 2018-10996, December 31, 2018, Doerr, P.J.)

An employment agreement that ended upon earlier termination is not binding upon future rehire of an employee.

 

IN RE: L.M.L.

(MsD. 18-40270, January 3, 2018, Doerr, P.J.)

The party requesting the name change of a minor child has the burden of showing by preponderance of the evidence that a name change is in the child’s best interest. Matching mother’s surname, when mother has sole legal and physical custody, is in the child’s best interest in order to prevent confusion for the child during appointments and activities.

 

CUNNINGHAM V. MEHALICK ET AL

(AD No. 2018-10718, December 11, 2018, Doerr, P.J.)

Punitive damages, if sufficiently pled in a complaint, cannot be stricken via Preliminary Objection if all inferences reasonable deducible therefrom can lead to a question of fact. 

 

TAMAYO V. TAMAYO

(FC No. 2017-90107-C, December 4, 2018, McCune, J.)

When half-siblings pose a danger to a minor child, custody may be appropriately awarded to the other party.

 

 

2018

 

BCLJ: 4/13/18 Vol. 26 No. 37

 

BERNAUER V. FRISHKORN

(FC No. 16-90653, March 28, 2018, Streib, J.)

When both parties in a custody action are equally fit to parent, and no other circumstances lean toward one parent or another, the court shall award shared legal custody and shared physical custody.

 

 

PRINGLE V. YWCA USA, INC. ET AL.

(AD No. 17-10343, December 20, 2017, Horan, J.)

When no agency relationship exists between national organization and local organization, the national organization cannot be held vicariously liable. 

 

VAN HOUTTE V. VAN HOUTTE

(FC No. 17-90028-C, November 16, 2017, Doerr, P.J.)

When parent and child no longer reside in County where action originated, it is appropriate for the court to transfer venue to an appropriate court of any other county where the action could originally have been brought or could be brought. 

 

STEPANIAN V. BROOKSTONE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION

(AD No. 15-10458, November 16, 2017, Horan, J.)

When Defendant is responsible for maintenance, repair, and replacement of Plaintiff’s driveway due to it being a common area, it can be held liable for failure to maintain, repair, and replace said area under the Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act. 

 

SCHERER V. WALL

(FC No. 17-90532-C, November 14, 2017, Doerr, P.J.)

When relocation will result in emotional betterment of the children and no adverse motivation is present from either party, relocation will be allowed. 

 

RUMINER V. ROCKWELL

(FC No. 15-90803-C, October 23, 2017, Doerr, P.J.)

When relocation will provide no benefit to the children and could negatively influence the relationship between parent and child, the court will not grant relocation.

 

SNOW V. EMERY, ET AL.

(AD No. 13-10595, October 20, 2017, Horan, J.)

When land did not meet the requirements of being seated, since there was no development or production of profit from the land, it is considered unseated land. Unseated land, at the time of Treasurer’s sale of the property, was not required to be tracked by the county, and the duty to notify the commissioners of the change of ownership fell to the owners, prior and subsequent. When subsurface interests were severed, the duty to notify the County again fell to the landowners. As such, when the landowners failed to report to the county the severance of the subsurface rights, and the property was sold at tax sale, and assumed to be wholly intact, the tax sale was procedurally correct and title transferred to the purchasers at tax sale. Even if the advertisement in the paper failed to identify the correct current owner, the advertisement was valid so long as it identified a person who had been connected with the land, and since the two year redemption period for tax sales of unseated land had passed, the correct property owners had ample time to protect their interests.

 

BCLJ: 9/7/18 Vol. 27 No. 06

 

 

SKERTICH, ET AL. v. BUTLER AMBULANCE SERVICE COMPANY

(AD No. 2018-10193, July 12, 2018, Horan, A.J.)

When no evidence of emergency medical care is established, the Court cannot dismiss a case based upon the immunity accorded by the Emergency Management Services Act at thre preliminary objection stage. Preliminary objections as a demurrer alleging governmental immunity may only be granted when, on its face, the entity shows it is related to a political subdivision.

 

MITCH v. XTO, INC.

(AD No. 16-10505, July 4, 2018, Yeager, J.)

When the language of a contract is unambiguous, the court must affirm the clear language of the contract.

 

HANAK V. WOO’DN IT STUDIOS, INC.

(AD No. 17-10866, June 29, 2018, Horan, A.J.)

A corporate officer who participates in wrongful and injury producing conduct can be personally liable for his or her actions.

 

ADAMS v. WILDPRET, ET AL.

(AD No. 17-11044, June 21, 2018, Horan, A.J.)

The failure of an opposing party to file preliminary objections to preliminary objections which assert erroneous defenses, constitutes waiver of the procedural defect and allows the trial court to rule on the preliminary objections.

 

ADAMS v. WILDPRET, ET AL.

(AD No. 17-11045, June 21, 2018, Horan, A.J.)

When a patient seeks voluntary mental health treatment which is denied him or her by the treating physician or authorized person, the treating physician or authorized person cannot be sued for negligence provided there is no willful misconduct or gross negligence.

 

DAVISON V. KNIGHT

(FC No. 12-90312-C, May 16, 2018, Streib, J.)

Physical condition of a parent may have an impact on custody. But limitations on physical ability ,without more, may not necessarily impair ability to act as primary caregiver.