Category: Business Law


Navient’s Request to Dismiss Lawsuit Denied by District Judge

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Philadelphia business lawyers represent clients harmed by abusive loan practices.Navient Corporation is a student loan servicer based in Delaware. According to a recent lawsuit filed on behalf of students who have been harmed by Navient, the company engaged in abusive practices that were financially harmful to borrowers, costing them billions of dollars. A spokesperson from Navient said that the allegations were unfounded and the company made a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. U.S. District Judge Robert Mariani denied the motion, which means that the case will proceed.

Highlights of the Lawsuit

The lawsuit against Navient includes the following claims:

  • The company made predatory loans to students who were attending for-profit and non-profit colleges that had graduation rates that were below 50 percent. Navient knew that a high percentage of these students would not be able to repay the loans.
  • Navient increased its subprime lending, ignoring the fact that the loans would most likely default at very high rates.
  • Navient urged students to apply for short-term loan forbearances. Unlike loan deferments, the interest continues to accrue and adds to the loan’s principal. This should only be used as a short-term solution for students who are having a temporary problem making payments.

This is not the first lawsuit filed against the company. Three other states have filed lawsuits against Navient as well.

Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Represent Clients Harmed by Abusive Loan Practices

If you were financially compromised by a student loan that was recommended to you by a loan officer, it is in your best interest to contact the Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. We will thoroughly examine the loan agreement and recommend the best legal course of action. Protecting your rights and securing the financial compensation you deserve is out top priority. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 215-574-0600 or contact us online. Our offices are located in Philadelphia, where we represent clients across southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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Legal Battle Over $4M Lottery Ticket

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Philadelphia business litigation lawyers represent employees whose rights have been violated.On March 21, 2019, a customer purchased $22 worth of Match 6 Lotto tickets at the ACME supermarket in Doylestown Borough. The tickets were printed out on four sheets of paper with several tickets on each sheet. The man who purchased the tickets returned the sheets of paper, asking that each ticket be printed individually. The returned tickets were set aside. When the winning number was announced later that day, the employee who had printed the unwanted tickets realized that one of the numbers was a winner, so she purchased the tickets and filed a claim for the winnings.

A legal battle ensued after ACME Markets Inc. filed a lawsuit against the employee, arguing that by ringing up the tickets herself, she violated company policy, which states that another employee should have completed the transaction for the tickets. The lawsuit goes on to say that ACME owns the tickets because the lottery does not reimburse stores for unpurchased tickets that were generated by an employee. The lawsuit will determine who deserves the $4.15 million in winnings.

Details of the Lawsuit

According to the lawsuit, once the Acme employee purchased the tickets and filed the claim, the ticket sale was recognized by the Pennsylvania Lottery. As a result, lottery officials were unable to stop processing the payment without a court order. On April 16, a Bucks County judge granted a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against the Pennsylvania Lottery, which states that the lottery may not submit any of the winnings to the Acme employee until the legal issues have been resolved. In the meantime, the parties involved have agreed to put the winnings into an escrow account.

The lawyers representing the Acme employee argued that Acme had established a pattern of allowing its employees to purchase “mistake tickets” before a redrawing if the winnings were unclaimed. Their client, who was suspended from her job at Acme, had worked at the store for 20 years. Her legal team plans to move on to pretrial discovery.

Philadelphia Business Litigation Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Represent Employees Whose Rights Have Been Violated

If you believe that your legal rights have been violated by your employer, it is in your best interest to contact the Philadelphia business litigation lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 215-574-0600 or contact us online. From our offices in Philadelphia, we represent clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Pa Superior Court Upholds Verdict Against Greyhound Lines in Crash Lawsuit

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Philadelphia Business Lawyers discuss the verdict in the 2013 Greyhound accident lawsuit. On October 9, 2013, a Greyhound bus carrying over 40 passengers rear-ended a slow moving tractor trailer on Interstate 80 in Union County at approximately 1:30 a.m. The bus was travelling from New York City to Cleveland, Ohio. Twenty-one passengers were injured in the accident, and one passenger died after she was thrown from the bus by the force of the impact. The victims were awarded a $15 million verdict after a number of passengers claimed that the bus driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into the truck going 67 mph. Greyhound officials argued that the truck driver was traveling at 20 mph below the speed limit and failed to turn on the flashing warning lights when entering the highway. A three-judge Superior Court Panel upheld the verdict.

According to the Superior Court Panel, although witness testimony revealed that the truck driver admitted to being under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident, the statement was not admissible because the witness did not have personal knowledge of the driver’s drug consumption. He could not provide an accurate account of the truck driver’s condition at the time of the accident, nor did he have any additional evidence to support the claim.

Evidence of Drowsy Driving

The Superior Court awarded punitive damages based on driver fatigue, arguing that the bus driver was aware of her own level of fatigue, and that she was in danger of falling asleep at the wheel if she continued driving. The Court found that there was evidence that the bus driver knew that she was supposed to pull over to a rest stop or other safe location if she started to feel drowsy. One of the passengers observed the bus driver drinking a Red Bull as the passengers were boarding the bus, and that she appeared to nod off at various times during the trip.

The Court also rejected Greyhound’s argument that a mistrial should have been declared when a lawyer representing one of the passengers asked a witness if Greyhound had allocated $81 million to pay for claims related to the crash. This was significant because jurors already knew that Greyhound’s assets exceeded its liabilities by $647 million. In recent years, other verdicts were issued against Greyhound. In 2016, $27 million was awarded to a passenger who lost his leg in a bus accident. In another 2016 trial, four passengers were awarded $5 million in damages after a collision.

The Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. handle a wide range of legal matters, including cases involving serious injuries. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 215-574-0600 or contact us online. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia, and we represent clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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Investment Banker Can be Held Liable for Sending False Statements in Email Signed by Director of Firm

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Philadelphia FINRA lawyers assist clients with FINRA claims.In the case, Lorenzo v. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that an investment banking director can be held liable for false statements he emailed to a client, even though the director’s boss wrote the content of the email and directed him to send it. In a 6-2 ruling, the court found that the director could be held liable under securities laws, even though the 2011 decision in Janus Capital Group v. First Derivative Traders found that liability for false statements only applied to those with “ultimate authority over the statement.”

However, the Court in Lorenzo distinguished the Janus decision due to the fact that the Janus decision was based specifically on the second prong of the Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 10b-5, which prohibits individuals or entities from making untrue statement of material fact or omitting a material fact. The person making the statement has “ultimate authority of the statement,” according to the court. Unlike in Janus, the Court found in Lorenzo that the first prong of Rule 10b-5, which bars any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud, applies.

According to Court documents, in October of 2009, the director was told that the total assets of his only investment banking client at the time – Waste2Energy – was less than $400,000. However, on October 14, 2009, the director reached out to prospective investors via email about Waste2Energy. The emails stated that the company had assets of $10 million. The emails were signed by the director, but he testified that the firm’s owner instructed him to send the emails.

In addition to being fined $15,000 for sending the emails, the SEC barred the director from working in the securities industry. While Lorenzo argued that since he did not make the untrue statement, he should not be held liable under Janus, Justice Breyer, writing for the majority, affirmed the Circuit Court decision, which stated that the director violated subsections (a) and (c) of Rule 10b-5 and related statutory provisions.

Examples of Investment Fraud

The following are common examples of investment fraud and financial advisor misconduct:

  • Securities fraud
  • Failure to disclose the risks associated with certain investments
  • Making frequent trades for the purpose of generating commissions, also known as churning
  • Lack of suitability
  • Unauthorized trading

If an investor wants to file a claim against a financial advisor, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Rule 12200 states that he or she must arbitrate their claims, as opposed to litigating the claims in court. The FINRA rules state that customers have six years from the time of the event to file a claim. Because FINRA arbitration orders are final, and can only be appealed in limited circumstances, it is highly recommended that investors seek legal counsel from an experienced FINRA lawyer.

Philadelphia FINRA Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green, P.C. Assist Clients with FINRA Claims

If you have been the victim of investment fraud, you are urged to contact the Philadelphia FINRA lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green, P.C. We have handled a wide range of disputes involving investment fraud and financial advisor misconduct, and we will ensure that your legal rights are protected. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 215-574-0600 or contact us online. From our offices in Philadelphia, we assist clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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Department of Labor Announces Much Anticipated Proposal on Overtime Pay

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In early March, the Department of Labor (DOL) released a proposal that would make it possible for more workers to collect overtime pay. According to the proposal, employees who earn an annual salary of $35,000 would be able to collect time-and-a-half for the number of hours they worked beyond the 40-hour work week.

Currently, employees who make $24,000 per year are eligible for overtime, so this proposal would expand the number of employees who could collect overtime pay.

Threshold Adjustments

This latest proposal is an increase from the current threshold, which entitles employees who make an annual salary of $24,000 to collect overtime. However, it is not as high as the proposal made by the Obama administration, which would have allowed workers making $47,000 per year to collect overtime once they surpassed 40 hours in a week.

The DOL’s latest proposal would allow more workers to collect time-and-a-half for their overtime work. The proposal made by the Obama administration also included periodic increases of the salary threshold, which this latest proposal does not have. Rather, the DOL is looking for comments from the public about whether they should update the overtime requirements every four years.

The Obama administration threshold was blocked by a judge in 2017 and is still subject to an ongoing appeals process. The judge had made this decision saying that the DOL was focused too heavily on the amount of money workers make, rather than their jobs.

Potential Legal Challenges

The last time the salary threshold was increased was in 2004. While the DOL hopes to avoid litigation by using the same economic methodology that was used by the George W. Bush administration in 2004, this latest proposal is likely to face legal challenges. Businesses will likely voice their concerns over the impact the proposal will have on their ability to meet rising payroll costs. Worker advocates will argue that the proposal falls short when it comes to expanding overtime pay.

Other legal issues may arise in response to the DOL’s decision against varying the salary threshold based on cost of living differences in different regions across the country. Large businesses and worker groups, in particular, oppose this decision.

Other critics of the proposal say that fewer employees are eligible for time-and-a-half pay due to the delay in modifying the requirements for overtime pay. According to an Economic Policy Institute Senior Economist, millions of workers who should have received overtime protections under the 2016 rule will not be covered by this new rule.

In addition, many believe that the standards are outdated and do not reflect the realities of the 2019 workplace. However, a DOL official said that the general overtime methodology has been proven to work, and the DOL is confident that it is appropriate for the purpose of updating the salary threshold.

Philadelphia Wage and Hour Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Secure Overtime Pay for Eligible Workers

If you have been denied overtime wages, the Philadelphia wage and hour lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. will work to secure the full compensation you deserve. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 215-574-0600 or contact us online. We will continue to fight for you until we have your complete satisfaction. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia, where we serve clients throughout South Jersey, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Third Circuit Reverses NLRB’s Determination In Favor of Union Workers

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The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that an employer’s threat and subsequent call to the police regarding union organizers on both public and company property did not violate 29 U.S.C. § 157 Section 8(a)(1). National Labor Relations Board v. ImageFirst Uniform Rental Service., No. 17-3680, 2018 WL 6614237 (3d Cir. December 18, 2018). The case arose from an incident in which ImageFirst, a health care laundry service provider, called the police on union members who were distributing pro-union literature on and near their Columbia, PA facility. The manager called the police and requested the union workers be removed from company property and a grassy area which abutted the road. The union ultimately filed a complaint and alleged that ImageFirst unlawfully interfered with union activities under 29 U.S.C. § 157 Section 8(a)(1). An administrative judge decided the trespassing was too insignificant to warrant a removal of the union members. The NLRB affirmed the decision.

In reversing, the Third Circuit Court found that substantial evidence did not support the finding by the NLRB that ImageFirst’s threat to call the police and the company’s call to the police were motivated solely by a desire to remove the union representatives from the public right-of-way. Rather, the Court concluded that “no reasonable fact finder could have failed to find that ImageFirst’s conduct was motivated by broader concerns over its property interests, implicated by the union representative’s repeated and ongoing forays onto its private property.” Therefore, the company’s concern was reasonable and the Court denied enforcement of the NLRB findings.

At the Law Offices of Sidkoff, Pincus & Green, our experienced Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorneys handle many types of legal matters. If you are interested in having a consultation with one of our attorneys, please call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online.

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Termination One Month After Requesting FMLA Leave Creates Sufficient Casual Link

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In Ha Long v. Spalding Auto. Inc., the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania—ruling on a motion to dismiss—determined that the plaintiff may proceed on his FMLA retaliation claim against his former employer because there were sufficient facts to establish a prima facie case for FMLA retaliation. No. CV 17-4865, 2018 WL 6244755, at *4 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 29, 2018). In Ha Long, the plaintiff sued his former employer alleging employment discrimination and retaliation. Plaintiff began his employment with Defendant in 2013 and was diagnosed with thoracic disease and disc disease in September 2015. Throughout his employment, Plaintiff periodically needed to request time off and needed accommodations due to his health conditions. Later, in March 2016, Plaintiff requested FMLA leave to attend to his daughter’s needs, as she was undergoing surgery. Initially, the FMLA request was not approved; however, the employer approved the FMLA leave after Plaintiff contacted his union representative, who contacted the chief operating officer. Then in June 2016, Plaintiff again had to request FMLA leave due to the pain he was experiencing as a result of his medical condition. On July 1, 2016, Defendant approved this request, conditioned upon Plaintiff sending appropriate FMLA documents within fifteen (15) days. Plaintiff allegedly complied with this request, but on August 1, 2016, Defendant terminated Plaintiff claiming the documentation was never received and citing attendance issues.

In order to state a viable claim for FMLA retaliation, the plaintiff here must be able to show that: (1) he engaged in protected employee activity; (2) he suffered an adverse employment action; and (3) the adverse action was causally related to the protected activity. Based on the facts at hand, the Court found that the plaintiff has alleged sufficient facts in order to defeat a motion to dismiss his FMLA retaliation claim. The Court recognized that the one-month gap between plaintiff requesting FMLA leave and his subsequent termination created a reasonable link that they may be related.

The statutes, regulations, and case law that govern the employer-employee relationship are constantly evolving. If you have questions about a legal situation, contact the Philadelphia employment lawyers at the Law Office of Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. today to schedule a confidential consultation. We can be reached at 215-574-0600 or by submitting a convenient online contact form.

Third Circuit Rules in Favor of Employer in Wrongful Termination Case

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A former maintenance mechanic for East Penn Manufacturing Co. filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that he was wrongfully terminated after allegedly damaging a laptop computer that belonged to the company. The employee attempted to establish a connection between his termination and a previous work-related injury, suggesting that he was discriminated against for the disabling injury. According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, there was insufficient evidence to establish a link between his termination and the injury.

After injuring his left knee in a work-related injury in 2012, the plaintiff underwent surgery to fix the problem. He was out of work and on disability leave for approximately eight months. He received Workers’ Compensation benefits during this time. He started to experience pain in the same knee in 2013, and submitted a claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits, but his claim was denied. After undergoing a second surgery in 2014, he was out of work again for several months. When he recovered, he was able to return to his position and collect the same salary.

According to the plaintiff, when he returned to work, he was disciplined for taking too much time off after the second surgery. A personnel director at East Penn scheduled a disciplinary meeting and explained the company’s policy regarding sick days and absences. Several months later, he was accused of throwing an object, which damaged a company-owned laptop. A personnel director confronted him about the incident, but he denied it. He was suspended pending an investigation, and ultimately fired.

The District Court ruled that no reasonable jury would find a link between the plaintiff’s firing and his workplace injury. However, the plaintiff argued that he presented enough evidence to support the claim that he was fired because of his injury, and that the district court set too high a standard for proving a prima facie case.

Earlier this month, the Third Circuit affirmed the lower court’s summary judgment. According to the Third Circuit, East Penn had a legitimate reason for terminating the plaintiff, who failed to provide sufficient evidence to support his claim. The company had a written statement from another East Penn employee who witnessed the plaintiff throw the object that damaged the laptop computer. The Court ruled that summary judgment, based on the lack of causal link, was appropriate.

Philadelphia Business Lawyers at the Law Office of Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Represent Clients in Wrongful Termination Cases

If you have been wrongfully terminated, or your employee rights have been violated, contact the Philadelphia business lawyers at the Law Office of Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. We will protect your rights and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 215-574-0600 or contact us online. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia, where we serve clients throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Any Company Registered to Do Business in Pennsylvania Now Subject to Lawsuits

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The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled in September that companies that are registered to conduct business in Pennsylvania may now be sued in the Pennsylvania state courts. Murray v. Am. LaFrance, LLC, 2018 Pa. Super. 267 (Pa. Super. 2018).  This includes foreign-based corporations who are registered to do business in Pennsylvania. Murray follows a June 28, 2018 Superior Court decision, Webb-Benjamin, LLC v. International Rug Group, LLC, which also granted personal jurisdiction over foreign-based businesses.

In this context, “foreign corporation” refers to a company that is registered to do business in a different jurisdiction or state than that which it is incorporated in.

The ruling followed a case involving a group of New York firefighters who had experienced hearing loss as a result of excessive occupational noise exposure from fire engine sirens. The firefighters sued Federal Signal Corporation, a foreign corporation registered in Pennsylvania.

In support of its ruling, the Superior Court examined Bors v. Johnson & Johnson, an Eastern District of Pennsylvania case which held that “consent remains a valid form of establishing personal jurisdiction under the Pennsylvania registration statute after Daimler.” Daimler was a 2014 Supreme Court case which held that a normally a foreign corporation must be “at home” in a state before the state court can exercise personal jurisdiction over it. However, the Supreme Court in Daimler did not address whether a business can consent to a state court’s jurisdiction based on the state’s business registration requirements.

The Bors court found that Pennsylvania’s statue informs the registrant about the jurisdictional effect of registering to do business in the state. As a result, by consenting to register, a corporation submits to jurisdiction for all purposes.

Unless and until Murray and Webb-Benjamin are appealed, and a higher court reverses the Superior Court’s rulings, foreign corporations registering to conduct business in Pennsylvania will considered consenting to personal jurisdiction.

Philadelphia Business Lawyers at the Law Office of Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Provide Legal Counsel to Pennsylvania Employees

If you intend to file a lawsuit against your employer, who is registered as a foreign corporation, you are urged to contact the Philadelphia business lawyers at the Law Office of Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. To schedule a confidential consultation today, call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online. Our office is conveniently located in Philadelphia where we represent clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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Third Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Plaintiff’s Fraud Claim Based on Gist of the Action Doctrine

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In Downs v. Andrews, The Third Circuit held that the gist of the action doctrine barred plaintiff from bringing a fraud claim. 639 Fed.Appx. 816 (2016).  Plaintiffs brought suit for fraud in connection with Defendants’ failure to deliver mortgage notes to Plaintiff. Plaintiff purchased $740,000 of mortgage notes from Defendants. Upon payment, Defendant only delivered a portion of the mortgage notes totaling $399,000. Subsequently, Plaintiff brought suit alleging that the Defendants acted fraudulently because they believe that Defendant never owned the purchased mortgages.

The gist of the action doctrine prevents plaintiffs from recovering damages twice for the same actions. The gist of the action doctrine bars tort claims “based on a party’s actions undertaken in the course of carrying out a contractual agreement.” Further, the gist of the action requires the court to determine if the duty breached is one based in contract or one established by “larger societal policies embodied in the law of torts.”

In this matter, the Court found that the duty breached was one established by contract. The Court narrowly interpreted the duty as the obligation to deliver the purchased notes in accordance with the contract. Therefore, the Court affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ fraud claim.

For more information, call Philadelphia business lawyers at the Law Office of Sidkoff, Pincus & Green at 215-574-0600 or contact us online.

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