Litigation Blog

Accomplished business litigation and trial lawyers, providing comprehensive litigation and trial support for clients on a broad spectrum of matters throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and other jurisdictions upon a special admission basis.

Text Messages Found Sufficient to Evidence Construction Contract

In February of 2016, the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County issued its opinion in Dietrick v. Fulciniti, PICS Case No. 16-0370 (C.P. Northampton Feb. 18, 2016)...
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3 Ways Law Firms Can Enhance Their Data Protection

Law firms must maintain and secure countless documents no matter the complexity of the case. These documents occupy a unique security space, however, as they must be readily...
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Defending Against ADA Website Compliance Letters

Have you received a letter from an attorney alleging that your company’s website is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act? These allegations may lack legal merit....
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Congress Passes The Protecting American Intellectual Property Act of 2022 - Biden Signs Into Law

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Trade Secret and DTSALaw® | Lawyers | The Protecting American Intellectual Property Act | 2022 | S. 1294 In furtherance of the U.S. Government’s effort to...
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Four New Judges Join the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

On December 7, 2022, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nominations of Mia Roberts Perez, Kelley B. Hodge, Kai Scott, and John Frank Murphy to the U.S. District Court...
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Pennsylvania High Court to Consider Whether Wrongful Death Emotional Distress Damages May Be Included Under Bodily Injury Coverage For Liability Insurance Policies

On October 18, 2022, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania granted allowance of appeal in Kramer v. Nationwide Property and Casualty Insurance Co. regarding the issue of whether the Superior...
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Pennsylvania Superior Court reaffirms invalidation of regular-use exclusion to preclude UIM coverage

On September 7, 2022, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania held in Jones v. Erie Insurance Exchange that “the regular-use clause of an insurance contract contravenes Section 1731” of the...
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Third Circuit: Pennsylvania auto insurers need not obtain new UIM election forms when a new vehicle is added to an existing policy

On September 29, 2022, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held, as a matter of first impression, the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) only requires auto...
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Surety Cannot be Liable for Bad Faith Under PA Law

On September 1, 2022, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania held, as a matter of first impression, that a surety is not subject to Pennsylvania’s bad faith statute, 42 Pa.C.S.A....
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Pennsylvania High Court to Consider Whether Regular Use Exclusion Violates Statute

On June 27, 2022, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania granted allowance of appeal in Rush v. Erie Insurance Exchange regarding the issue of whether the Superior Court erred...
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“Using” Competitor’s Trademarks in Paid Search Engine Ads is Not Infringement if Consumers are Unlikely to be Misled or Confused

On June 27, 2022, a New York Federal Judge for the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of Warby Parker’s motion for judgment on the pleadings,...
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The New West Virginia Intermediate Court of Appeals Nears Hearing Its First Cases

Since the creation of the State of West Virginia, the West Virginia Supreme Court has provided the only review of the decisions of the trial courts and administrative...
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Houston Harbaugh Secures Win for Insurer on Prior Related Acts Clause

On June 17, 2022, Houston Harbaugh obtained judgment on the pleadings for The Charter Oak Fire Insurance Company when the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of...
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Depp v. Heard: Litigation Strategy

This week marks the culmination of Depp v. Heard, the high-profile civil trial in Fairfax County, Virginia. In addition to celebrity intrigue, the trial has provided a useful...
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What Corporations Need to Know: CFIUS Review is Needed Before Initiating Intellectual Property Transactions With Foreign Companies

On August 13, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA), which expanded the Committee on Foreign Investment in the Unites States’...
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CFAA Update: The Supreme Court Provides Guidance In Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) Cases

The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision which was issued on June 3, 2021, reversed an Eleventh Circuit decision and adopted a narrow interpretation of “exceeds unauthorized access”...
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3rd Circuit Update: Contractual Possession Unnecessary for PUTSA Claim

If you ask the average person what it means to possess property, their mind goes directly to tangible things – houses, cars, your new Peloton, etc. But, although...
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Could the Organizing Business be Liable For “Overserving” at a Company Event Under Pennsylvania’s Dram Shop Law?

An end of the year party or a summer picnic is a regular practice for many businesses.  Many of those social outings feature the consumption of alcohol. But,...
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Understanding the Right to Know Law and Why Certain Documents May be Protected

You may notice water being diverted from a neighboring property onto your property. Or, perhaps you have concerns that the property located above yours seems to be shifting,...
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Forthcoming Pennsylvania Supreme Court Decision Could Vastly Increase the Scope of the “Piercing the Corporate Veil” Doctrine

In December 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard oral argument in Mortimer v. McCool, et al.,[1] which presents the question of whether the Court will adopt the “enterprise”...
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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Broadens the Scope of the “Piercing the Corporate Veil” Doctrine

Earlier this year, Houston Harbaugh wrote on the then-pending Pennsylvania Supreme Court case of Mortimer v. McCool,[1] which presented the question of whether the Court would adopt the...
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Does Your Business Contract With the Federal Government? Here’s What You Need to Know About New COVID Vaccine Rules

Last week, the federal government issued new COVID vaccine rules that will apply to many federal contractors and subcontractors.  These are the highlights: Q: Will the new rules...
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No-Hire Provision Unenforceable in Pittsburgh Logistics Systems, Inc. v. Beemac Trucking LLC

For the first time in Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court recently took on the issue of whether a no-hire provision (i.e., no-poaching) in a services contract is enforceable under...
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COVERING CORONA: A Quartet Of Cases Foreshadows A New Trend In COVID-19 Business Interruption Coverage Litigation

The mandatory lockdowns imposed by state governments throughout the country have had a debilitating effect on so-called “non-essential” businesses, preventing business owners from maintaining stable revenue streams so...
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How Law Firms Ensure Client Data Is Secure

When you seek help from an attorney, you take comfort in the fact that what you tell your attorney remains confidential. If you’re a business owner, for example,...
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Pennsylvania Excludes PPP Loan Forgiveness From Personal Income Tax

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has reversed its position on the treatment of income from forgiveness of Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP“) loans for personal income tax (“PIT”) purposes. Act...
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COVID-19 And Cruise Lines - Lawsuits For Negligent Exposures To COVID-19

One of the first heavily covered COVID-19 stories in the United States is now spawning some of the first negligence-based lawsuits resulting from alleged exposures to the virus....
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OSHA & COVID-19: Does An Employee’s Positive Test For COVID-19 Trigger OSHA’s Illness Reporting Requirement?

OSHA has generally taken a backseat on COVID-19, leaving it to the CDC and state governments to give directions to employers. However, recent OSHA COVID-19 guidance puts employers...
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Employer Awareness of Implicit Gender Bias in the Workplace

The topic of sex discrimination in the workplace has been heavily researched, discussed, and frequently litigated, particularly in the era of the #metoo movement. Today, employers are more...
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Tincher Opinion Has Residual Effects on Pennsylvania Products Liability Law in the recent Urbieta Case.

How much has the recent Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc., Opinion changed the landscape of products liability law in Pennsylvania? So far, this opinion has resulted in the...
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Pennsylvania Products Liability Law: Amazon May be Liable for Defective “Marketplace” Items in Oberdorf Case

What role does Amazon play when third party vendors sell defective products? The Third Circuit has recently issued an opinion on the issue in the case of Oberdorf...
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Hemp and Hemp Derived-CBD Trademarks will now be accepted by USPTO

On May 2, 2019, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued an examination guide in an effort to clarify the procedure for examining marks for cannabis and...
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Superior Court Further Extends Reach of Negligent Misrepresentation Claims in Pennsylvania

Approximately two years ago, I commented on the Superior Court opinion in Gongloff Contracting, L.L.C. v. L. Robert Kimball & Assoc., No. 785 WDA 2014 (Pa. Super. 2015),...
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Is Evidence of a Plaintiff’s Contributory Negligence Admissible in a Strict Product Liability Action? PA Federal Court Allows It, But only for Limited Purposes

Strict product liability generally focuses on the product itself, not the negligent conduct of the defendant, and as a result, defendants often are precluded from relying on certain...
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Contractor Overhead and Profit May be Included in “Actual Cash Value” in Homeowner’s Policies

In the recent case of Kurach v. Truck Ins. Exchange (C.P. Philadelphia 2017), a Pennsylvania Court held that under Pennsylvania law, insurance companies are required to include general...
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In the Wake of Tincher, Can a Strict Product Liability Defendant Rely on Compliance Standards?

In a strict product liability claim, compliance with government regulations and industry standards can be powerful evidence for the defense. Such evidence traditionally has been inadmissible under Pennsylvania...
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Pennsylvania Superior Court Decision Highlights Importance of Rebuttal Evidence on Causation in Defending a Strict-Liability, Failure-to-Warn Claim

The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently affirmed an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County entering a judgment against American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (“Honda”) on...
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PA Superior Court Rejects “Heeding Presumption” In Strict-Liability, Failure-To-Warn Action

In Dolby v. Ziegler Tire & Supply Co., 2017 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 791 (Pa. Super. Feb. 28, 2017), a case that proceeded to trial solely on a...
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A Quick Look into the Statutory Employer Defense

In a recent case filed in the US District Court for the Middle District of PA, a general contractor and subcontractor agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle...
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Commonwealth Court Holds Delay Damages Available in Government Projects Despite “No Damages for Delay” Clause

In John Spearly Constr., Inc. v. Penns Valley Area Sch. Dist., 2015 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 337 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2015), the Pennsylvania Commonwealth addressed a question that has bedeviled courts...
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Superior Court Reaffirms Oral Change Orders Are Effective Despite Contractual Provisions Requiring Written Approval

In C.E. Pontz Sons, Inc. v. Purcell Constr. Co., 2015 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 3192 (Pa. Super 2015), the Pennsylvania Superior Court addressed the often disputed question regarding...
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Superior Court Holds Expert not Necessary to Establish Defect in Breach of Equipment Warranty Matter

In Independent Enterprises, Inc. v. JD Fields & Co., Inc., No. 1421 WDA 2014 (Pa. Super. 2015), the Superior Court affirmed a trial court verdict in favor of...
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The State of Products Liability in Pennsylvania – Part Two

Since Berrier v. Simplicity Mfg., 563 F.3d 83 (3d Cir. 2009), the Third Circuit has been applying the Third Restatement articulation of a products liability design defect cause...
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Supreme Court Grants Appeal in Another Mechanic’s Lien Case

In August of 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, at 97 A.3d 739, granted a Petition for Allowance of Appeal from the Superior Courts unpublished opinion in Terra Technical...
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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Clarifies Considerations for Venue Transfer

In Bratic v. Rubendall, 99 A.3d 1 (Pa. 2014), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court addressed and clarified the application of venue rules and venue transfers on the basis of...
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Pennsylvania Superior Court finds that Oral Contract Supports Claim under Contractor Subcontractor Payment Act and that “curbs” Constitute “structures” and “improvements to Real Property”

By opinion dated September 10, 2014, a three judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court continued the trend of applying the Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act in a...
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U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Pennsylvania Allows Class Action Securities Fraud Suit to Proceed against Pharmaceutical Manufacturer

In re ViroPharma Inc. Sec. Litig., No. 12-2714, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67414 (E.D. Pa. May 15, 2014), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania...
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Jury Waiver Provision in Franchise Development Agreement Deemed Unenforceable against Non-Signatory Corporate Entities

In Selzer v. Dunkin’ Donuts, Inc., No. 09-5484, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46675 (E.D. Pa. April 4, 2014), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania...
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Pennsylvania Superior Court Applies Six-Year Statute of Limitations to Debtor’s Damages Claims under U.C.C. Article 9

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has held that a six-year, rather than a two-year, statute of limitations applies to damages claims brought by a debtor against a creditor under...
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Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Finally Tackle Restatement Second vs. Restatement Third Issue

In Tincher v. Omega Flex, 64 A.2d 626, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted a Petition for Allowance of Appeal to address the issue of : “Whether this Court...
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Supreme Court Bars Time-Bar Appeals In PTAB Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) decisions on the timeliness of administrative patent validity challenges are not appealable to Article III...
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Safe Harbor Provision of Procurement Code May Not Protect Surety, Depending on Bond Language

In an opinion dated July 11, 2013, The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed a lower court ruling finding that a surety may waive its protections under the Safe Harbor...
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Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Review Ability of Subsequent Buyers to Claim Breach of Implied Warranty Against Construction Contractor

In Conway v. Cutler Group, Inc., 57 A.3d 155 (Pa. Super 2012), the Pennsylvania Superior Court held for the first time that a subsequent buyer of a home,...
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When Does an Agreement to Repurchase Construction Material Equal a Contract for Services?

Recently, in the case of CPG Int’l LLC v. Shelter Products, Inc., No. 3:15cv1045 (M.D. Pa. 2017) the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania...
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About Us

The litigation attorneys at Houston Harbaugh, P.C., are accomplished business trial lawyers, providing comprehensive support in litigation across a broad spectrum of matters throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and other jurisdictions upon a special admission basis. Our clients are regional and national small, medium and large companies and individuals who seek well planned and aggressive, but cost effective litigation. We counsel, we budget, we have a deep bench, we act quickly when needed and we have experienced trial lawyers who know the courts and bench. We serve regularly as local counsel for some of the largest law firms in the country when they have matters in this region.

Henry Sneath Pittsburgh Business Litigation Lawyer. Pittsburgh Strong.® DTSALaw® Complex Case Mediation and ADR

Henry M. Sneath

Co-Chair of Houston Harbaugh’s Litigation Practice, and Chair of its Intellectual Property Practice, Henry Sneath is a trial attorney, mediator, arbitrator and Federal Court Approved Mediation Neutral and Special Master with extensive federal and state court trial experience in cases involving commercial disputes, breach of contract litigation, intellectual property matters, patent, trademark and copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation, DTSA claims, cyber security and data breach prevention, mitigation and litigation, probate trusts and estates litigation, construction claims, eminent domain, professional negligence lawsuits, pharmaceutical, products liability and catastrophic injury litigation, insurance coverage, and insurance bad faith claims.

Sam Simon Houston harbaugh lawyer

Samuel H. Simon

As co-chair of Houston Harbaugh’s Litigation Group, Sam focuses his practice on commercial/business litigation. Sam regularly represents clients in the construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, and wholesale/retail/ distribution industries, as well as individuals in matters such as:

  • Construction litigation
  • Environmental litigation
  • Breach of contract disputes
  • Oil and gas litigation
  • Negligence
  • Restrictive covenants (non-compete agreements)
  • Civil rights
  • Collections/creditors’ rights
  • Lease disputes