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Houston Harbaugh Blog

Business Litigation Archives

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), which expanded the reach of Pennsylvania's negligent misrepresentation law from applying only to claims by contractors against design professionals to also encompassing claims by subcontractors against design professionals.  Recently, the Superior Court has further expanded this cause of action beyond claims against only design professionals.  In Fulton Bank, N.A. v. Sandquist, No. 2306 EDA 2016 (Pa. Super. 2017), the Superior Court has now recognized a cause of action for potential liability against accountants and their firms under a theory of negligent misrepresentation for providing professional information that is designed to be relied upon by a third party.

What Is the Pennsylvania One Call System?

backhoe-413903_640.jpgApril is National Safe Digging Month, reminding all contractors and homeowners to call 811 at least three business days before starting a digging project to ensure that all underground utility lines are properly marked and precautions are taken to ensure safety and damage prevention. Whether you are in Pennsylvania or another state, 811 is the nationally recognized number for reporting your planned digging project. According to Pennsylvania 811, "every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first dialing 8-1-1." Hitting a single utility line can cause severe bodily injury as well as repair costs and power outages. So whether you're planning to simply install a new fence or you're about to begin a major public construction project, Call Before You Dig!

PA Superior Court Holds Service on Franchisee's Employee Ineffective to Complete Service on Franchisor

Thumbnail image for Monaco Greg.jpgIn Trexler v. McDonald's Corp., 2015 PA Super 131 (June 3, 2015), the Pennsylvania Superior Court was asked to decide whether a corporate franchisor was properly served with original process where the plaintiff served the franchisee's employee at a restaurant location that was operated on property owned by the franchisor.  The court held that this was not proper service under Rule 424 (service on corporations and similar entities).  

Creditor's Failure to Allege Condition Precedent in Complaint in Confession of Judgment Cannot Be Cured through Amendment, Says PA Superior Court

Monaco Greg.jpgWhere a creditor files a complaint in confession of judgment but fails to allege the occurrence of a condition precedent, can the defect be cured through amendment in order to prevent exhaustion of the warrant of attorney? The Pennsylvania Superior Court has held "no," finding that a creditor's failure to allege the occurrence of a condition precedent is a substantive defect that voids the confessed judgment.

Third Circuit "Irons" Out Why Injunction Stands After False Advertising Claims Affirmed

Herald, Michael 2014 143 200.jpgIn Groupe SEB United States, Inc. v. Euro-Pro Operating LLC, 2014 U.S.App. LEXIS 23785 (3.d Cir, 2014) the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently affirmed a District Court's decision to grant a preliminary injunction against a household consumer product brand for false advertising and violation of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. ยง 1125(a). Plaintiff, SEB, sells various consumer products, including steam irons under the Rowenta brand name, namely the Rowenta Focus and the Rowenta Steamium. The Defendant, Euro-Pro, sells a competing brand of steam irons under the Shark brand name. The dispute involved in this case arises from the advertising claims on the packing of the two competing Shark irons, the "Shark 405" and "Shark 505". The Third Circuit ultimately concluded that the District Court was correct when it concluded that Shark's advertising claims were false and that it violated the Lanham Act.

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 forum non conveniens. The Bratic decision offers defendants a much more robust set of options for precluding a plaintiff from venue shopping.

"RED BULL GIVES YOU WINGS"; NEW YORKERS AND CALIFORNIANS FILE SUITS AFTER CONSUMING RED BULL ENERGY DRINKS AND FAILING TO GROW WINGS

Herald, Michael 2014 143 200.jpgA New York federal judge granted preliminary approval to a settlement reached between groups of New Yorkers and Californians who challenged the energy drink maker, Red Bull's, advertising slogan that "Red Bull gives you wings!" In Careathers v. Red Bull North America, Inc., 1:13-CV-0369 (S.D.N.Y.2013), and Wolf and Almaraz v. Red Bull GmbH, Red Bull North America, Inc., and Red Bull Distribution Company, Inc., 1:13-cv-08008 (C.D.Ca.2013), the proposed classes alleged that Red Bull falsely marketed its energy drinks as providing certain "functional benefits", resulting in consumers paying a price premium for the energy drink over alternate sources of caffeine.