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May 2015 Archives

Can I Sue My Kid's School Because She Got Hurt While Playing School Sports?

Sports related injuries in schools are not atypical. In fact, the main reason my brother wasn't allowed to join the middle school football team was my own mother's fear he'd end up with a back or head injury. While I sympathized with my brother, being forced to grapple with my over-protective mother, it turns out that some of these student athlete injuries are pretty serious. Not only are they pretty serious, but also some student athletes are looking for legal recourse through the federal judiciary. Maybe my mother wasn't completely off...

The Million Dollar Comma

Ever wonder how important grammar is to the drafting of agreements? One drafting error had a million dollar impact. In a 2006 Canadian case, there was a contract dispute between Rogers Communications, a cable television provider, and a telephone company, Bell Aliant. The Agreement called for Alliant to string cable lines across a large number of utility polls for an annual fee of $9.60 per pole. In 2005, however, Alliant wanted to increase the contract amount to $18.91 per pole.

I Slipped and Fell On A Vacant Property - Who Is Responsible For My Injuries?

Imagine you are walking down the street, it's a rather normal Winter weekday, and while traveling this particular block has become routine to you even during inclement weather patterns, today you trip and fall on a patch of ice left over from a snow storm earlier that week. You are injured by the fall and later find out that you broke a bone in your ankle that will require surgery. The doctor estimates you will be off your feet for several weeks, meaning you will miss a lot of work, followed by at least two months with crutches and physical therapy. You become depressed, emotional and just want to hide yourself from the rest of the walking world.

But My Father Was Incapacitated When He Sold The Sports Car He Left To Me In His Will - Am I Entitled to The Proceeds Of That Sale? ADEMPTION AND INCAPACITY In Pennsylvania

Ademption occurs when a specific gift in a will is no longer part of the estate at the time of death. For example, a father drafts a will leaving his red sports car to his son. Before Father's death, however, he sells the sports car. Because the sports car is no longer owned by Father at the time of his death the specific gift of the sports car to Son is said to be adeemed, with the result that this gift is not available for distribution to the beneficiary named in the will. If, however, father was adjudicated incapacitated prior to the sale of the sports car, son may be entitled to a gift such as the proceeds of the sale of the sports car. The Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code, 20 Pa.C.S.A. § 2514(16.1) reads as follows:

I've Just Been Appointed A Guardian of An Incapacitated Person, What Does That Mean?

When a person reaches a point where they are unable to function either daily or manage their own finances the court may appoint a guardian if the person is adjudicated an "incapacitated person." If the incapacitated person only needs aid or assistance in their daily functioning, the court may appoint a guardian of the pers on. If, however, the incapacitated person can function in their day-to-day life, but is having problems managing their financing, the court may appoint a guardian of the estate to manage their finances. Often times, however, a person may require both types of guardians. A court may choose to vest in a single person as the "plenary guardian" of both the estate and the person. Although the guardian is vested with the ability to make many decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person, even medical decisions, the power is not absolute.


Imagine you're the parent of two children, one is your natural, and one who is your adopted child. When you draft your will, you leave your entire estate to your "children." Using the word "children" is not uncommon even where there is only one child at the time of drafting because the testator may have another child in his/her lifetime and using this generic term will relieve the need to update the will. But does the word "child" or "children" impact the rights of an adopted child to inherit under a will? What about the adopted child's rights, if any, further down the genetic line?

Who Has Standing to Challenge a Will?

When a person dies with a will, they are said to die testate. The will typically appoints an executor (male) or executrix (female) to fulfill the wishes of the deceased. Sometimes, the executor is also a named beneficiary of the will, although this is not always the case. For practical purposes, this could include selling real estate, personalty, and closing bank accounts and distributing it as per the will. When a person dies without a will, they are said to die intestate. Instead of an executor or executrix being appointed in the body of the will an administrator is appointed to fulfill the same roles and duties as the executor. The executor/executrix/administrator are considered "personal representatives" of the estate. But what do you do if you believe the personal representative is not acting appropriately? Perhaps you have strong suspicions that the personal representative is pilfering money that does not belong to him or her. The first question you have to ask is do you have standing to do anything?

My Employer Refuses To Pay Me - What Can I do?

Are you living paycheck to paycheck? Would it be devastating to you if your employer failed to pay you on time? Is your employer paying you less than $7.25/hour? What if your employer only paid you a portion of what you earned? Well, if you work in Pennsylvania you are protected and you have recourse under Pennsylvania's Wage Payment and Collection Law, also known as the WPCL. 43 P.S. § et. seq. In fact, you are entitled to be paid for all work performed, even if the work you are doing is by your own choice, before or after a shift.

Is there a gender-based wage gap in Pennsylvania?

Although states are free to set their own minimum wage laws, U.S. Department of Labor data confirms that Pennsylvania's is at the same level as the federal minimum wage.

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