Professional Liability

Lourdes Sánchez Ridge appointed Chair of the Allegheny County Bar Association Professional Ethics Committee

2023/11/27

Pietragallo is pleased to announce that Lourdes Sánchez Ridge has been appointed Chair of the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Professional Ethics Committee. Ms. Sánchez Ridge will serve a one-year term as Chair of the committee, which renders opinions on the proper interpretation of the Code of Judicial Conduct or Rules of Professional Conduct and their applicability to particular facts as requested by practitioners. She also serves on the Pennsylvania Bar Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee, a similar committee within the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Professional ethics prove important to Ms. Sánchez Ridge, having stated in an interview that one of her proudest accomplishments in her previous role as Chief Legal Counsel/City Solicitor for the City of Pittsburgh was the creation of the City of Pittsburgh’s Ethics Hearing Board. This Board was formed to regulate compliance with the city’s code of ethics. Learn more about Ms. Sánchez Ridge and her commitment to the community here. Read More

Pietragallo recognized in the 2024 edition of Best Law Firms®

2023/11/02

Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP has been recognized in the 2024 edition of Best Law Firms®, receiving fourteen Tier 1 Metro rankings in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. These fourteen rankings include: Commercial Litigation (PGH & PHL) Employment Law – Individuals (PHL) Health Care Law (PHL) Insurance Law (PGH) Litigation – Insurance (PGH) Litigation – Labor & Employment (PGH & PHL) Litigation – Real Estate (PGH) Litigation – Trusts & Estates (PGH) Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs (PGH) Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants (PGH) Product Liability Litigation – Defendants (PGH) Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers (PGH) In addition to the Tier 1 Metro rankings, Pietragallo also received ten Tier 2 and Tier 3 Metro rankings: Tier 2 Metro firm in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and West Palm Beach in the respective practice areas of Bet-the-Company Litigation, Criminal Defense: General Practice, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, Employment Law – Management, and Litigation – Intellectual Property. Tier 3 Metro firm in Pittsburgh and West Palm Beach in the respective practice areas of Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Construction Law, Litigation – Construction, and Criminal Defense: White-Collar Pietragallo has also been named as a Tier 2 National firm in Commercial Litigation and Litigation – Labor & Employment and a Tier 3 National firm for our work in Health Care Law. Prior to merging with Pietragallo, Gentile Horoho & Avalli P.C. (GHA) was slated to be ranked as a Tier 1 Metro firm in Pittsburgh for their work in Family Law and a Tier 3 Metro firm in Pittsburgh for their work in Litigation – Trusts & Estates, and Trusts & Estates Law. All seven GHA attorneys, well-known for their experience in complex and high net-worth divorce and custody disputes as well as intricate estate/trust cases, have joined Pietragallo. Best Law Firms rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. Read More

Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP and Gentile, Horoho & Avalli, P.C. to Merge

2023/08/01

Business and Commercial Litigation Firm Adds Family Law and Estate Administration/Orphans’ Court Practice AUGUST 1, 2023 – Two established Pittsburgh law firms have agreed to merge, bringing a highly-experienced family law and estate planning, administration, and litigation practice to a nationally-recognized business and litigation firm. Effective August 1, 2023, Gentile, Horoho & Avalli, P.C (GHA) will merge with Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP (Pietragallo). All seven GHA attorneys, well-known for their experience in complex and high net-worth divorce and custody disputes as well as intricate estate/trust cases will now join Pietragallo, a multi-disciplined business and commercial litigation firm, with offices in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Sharon, PA, Steubenville, OH, Weirton, WV, and Palm Beach Gardens, FL. The merger comes on the heels of Pietragallo’s expansion into Palm Beach Gardens in 2022. Pietragallo’s clients range from Fortune 200 and large privately-held companies to municipal entities and entrepreneurial businesses in a broad diversity of industries and business sectors. Gentile, Horoho & Avalli brings to Pietragallo more than 30 years of experience in providing exceptional legal counsel in the areas of family law and estates and trusts as well as complex orphans’ court litigation. “We are excited to engage with these outstanding practitioners in a new sphere of domestic-business litigation,” said Pietragallo chairman William Pietragallo II. “Our practices share a common commitment to achieving results.” “The lawyers at Pietragallo have distinguished themselves as leaders in our profession and in the communities they serve,” said Kenneth J. Horoho, Jr. “The blending of our two firms will provide our current clients with experienced business litigation attorneys who are known for problem-solving and results.” The family law/estate litigation attorneys joining Pietragallo include: Kenneth Horoho, Jr., Partner Charles Avalli, Partner Kerri Lee Cappella, Partner Carla Schiff Donnelly, Partner Lorraine W. Mervan, Special Counsel Robert D. Weinberg, Associate Adam J. Read More

Phillip Earnest elected to Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County

2023/06/22

Pietragallo partner Phillip R. Earnest has been elected into membership of the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County. Mr. Earnest, chair of the firm’s Construction Practice Group, joins an esteemed group of Pietragallo lawyers who, in part, make up the 250 members of the Academy. The Academy of Trial Lawyers began in 1959 as an organization to promote the highest standards of integrity, civility, and competence in the legal profession. The Academy fosters development, improvement and accomplishment of the highest quality of advocacy before our Courts. Members of the Academy have long represented the most exceptional trial lawyers in Allegheny County. Each year, the Academy completes a rigorous membership process where new members are selected, this year Mr. Earnest is among twelve members who have been selected by the membership committee. Mr. Earnest primarily represents corporations in commercial, construction, and insurance contract drafting, negotiation, claims, and litigation. He has tried numerous jury trials and has successfully conducted commercial and construction arbitrations throughout the federal and state court systems of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Learn more about the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County here. Read More

Joseph J. Bosick Receives Distinguished Alumni Award From University of Pittsburgh School of Law

2023/05/23

Pietragallo partner Joseph J. Bosick was the recipient of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s Distinguished Alumni Award for 2023. This honor recognizes Alumni who have given exceptional service to the Law School and to the legal community at large, recognizing their extraordinary commitment and accomplishments. As an accomplished trial attorney, Mr. Bosick has been rated an AV Preeminent® attorney by LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell®, the highest such rating available to any individual lawyer in both legal ability and ethical standards. He has also been named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer in the area of Civil Litigation. He has received professional recognition in Lawyers of Distinction, America’s Most Honored Professionals, Who’s Who in American Law, International Who’s Who of Professionals and The Global Directory of Who’s Who. A 1973 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Mr. Bosick is the former president and current member of the Alumni Association. He is also on the Alumni Leadership Council of the University of Pittsburgh. Read More

Could One Plaintiff’s Phone Call Lead to ADA Litigation? The Supreme Court Will Decide

2023/05/22

Every business or nonprofit open to the public, regardless of size, must comply with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The ADA permits a plaintiff to sue a business for failing to provide full and equal access to goods, services, and facilities. The ADA’s aim is laudable; however, plaintiff attorneys have begun exploiting its breadth. Plaintiff attorneys are bringing claims against businesses of all sizes on behalf of plaintiffs who may never actually intend to use the defendant’s goods, services, or facilities. These lawsuits may include allegations that a website is inaccessible to the visually impaired or that hotel beds are too high for the mobility impaired. A single law firm may file dozens of nearly identical cases, using the same plaintiff, against similarly situated businesses in a short period of time. This type of ADA litigation has become an epidemic in certain parts of the country, including in the Western District of Pennsylvania. Every business is threatened by it. The proliferation of these cases has raised basic but consequential questions of “standing,” the capacity of a particular party to bring suit. Courts, counsel, and businesses alike are asking – are a plaintiff’s “informational injuries” enough to expose businesses to suit under the ADA? May plaintiffs sue because they learn of a potential ADA violation – such as by visiting a website or calling a hotel’s front desk – or must they personally suffer a concrete injury arising from the noncompliance? The U.S. Supreme Court is stepping in to answer. During the 2023-2024 term, the Court will hear the case of Acheson Hotels v. Laufer. The plaintiff, Deborah Laufer, sued Acheson Hotels LLC for failing to sufficiently provide information on its website about accessible hotel rooms, despite no indication that Ms. Laufer intended to patronize the hotel. Ms. Read More

Let the Record Reflect, There Are No “Usual Stipulations”

2023/02/23

By The Legal Intelligencer’s The Young Lawyer Editorial Board Let’s set the record straight. There are no “usual stipulations” that apply to depositions. Although some attorneys may share a vague understanding about the usual stipulations, the phrase has no established meaning. In fact, there is no rule, case, or statute that defines the usual stipulations. “Everyone purports to know without asking the content of the ‘usual stipulations’ until a dispute arises; the ephemeral nature of the parties’ understanding is then quite apparent.” See United States v. Liquid Sugars, 158 F.R.D. 466, 473 n.8 (E.D. Cal. 1994). Because the phrase has no accepted meaning, an attorney should respond to a proposal for the usual stipulations by asking, “What do you mean by the usual stipulations?” The question might elicit shock, anger, or some patronizing retort like, “I’m surprised you don’t know what the usual stipulations are.” You may feel tempted to agree to the usual stipulations without any clarification. This is especially true for newer lawyers, who fear that asking for an explanation will reveal their inexperience. But there is no reason to be embarrassed. In all likelihood, the attorney proposing the usual stipulations has no idea what the phrase means. Many attorneys simply mimic what they perceive to be a common practice without questioning whether the practice makes sense. These same attorneys might argue, “I’ve done hundreds of depositions, and no one has ever refused the usual stipulations.” That may be true, but a prevalent practice can still be a flawed practice. Consider these two common versions of the usual stipulations: “reserving all objections until trial or there is an attempt to use the deposition” or “reserving all objections except to the form of a question.” While neither helps the taking attorney, both give the defending attorney a strategic advantage beyond what the rules provide. Read More

Kevin Raphael and Rich Parks to speak at Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s Program

2023/02/22

Pietragallo partners Kevin Raphael and Rich Parks will be participating in the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s seminar “PA Business Law Quirks: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt Your Client” co-sponsored by the PBA Business Law Section and PBA Large Law Firm Committee, of which Kevin serves as the chair. This seminar will be held virtually on February 22, 2023. Kevin will be moderating the event while Rich will be speaking on the PA Deficiency Judgment Act. Business law is an integral aspect of any legal system as it governs and regulates the business environment, this program offers an overview of key concepts necessary to establish a strong foundation in this practice area. During the program speakers will be presenting on: Forming business entities under PA law (Corporations, LLCs and LP) Anti-takeover law Consent to Jurisdiction by registration, Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Enterprise liability in PA – piercing the corporate veil Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law: Who is protected, What does it protect against? Gregg v. Ameriprise Fin. Inc. PA Deficiency Judgment Act Further information can be found here: https://www.pbi.org/Meetings/Meeting.aspx?ID=44457 Read More

Proportionality, Preservation, and Cost-Sharing: A Reminder on E-Discovery Considerations

2023/01/19

Pretrial practice and discovery are critical stages of the litigation process, as they allow parties to gather and exchange information relevant to the case before it goes to trial. In recent years, the issue of e-discovery has become increasingly prevalent in pretrial practice, as more information is stored electronically. This has led to significant changes in how parties manage discovery, as well as how courts interpret and apply the rules governing e-discovery. A case that highlights these challenges is Da Silva Moore v. Publicis Groupe, No. 1:2011cv01279 (S.D.N.Y 2012). In this case, the plaintiff, a former employee of the defendant, brought an employment-discrimination-and-retaliation lawsuit against her former employer. During the discovery process, the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s request for electronic documents was overly broad and unduly burdensome. The court ultimately agreed and ordered the defendant to produce only a limited set of electronic documents. The Da Silva Moore case illustrates the importance of proportionality in e-discovery. The court recognized that, while the defendant had a duty to preserve and produce relevant electronic documents, the plaintiff’s request was so broad and burdensome that it outweighed the potential benefits of producing all the requested documents. This decision demonstrates that, to avoid disputes over e-discovery, parties must be mindful of proportionality when making requests for electronic documents. The Da Silva Moore court also addressed the issue of cost shifting. The court ordered the defendant to bear the cost of producing the electronic documents, but also noted that the plaintiff may be required to reimburse the defendant for certain costs if the plaintiff ultimately loses the case. This highlights the importance of considering not only the breadth of the discovery sought but the potential the costs of that discovery, for both for the requesting party and the producing party. To mitigate the challenges of e-discovery, it is essential for attorneys and their clients to be proactive in identifying and preserving electronic documents that may be relevant to the case. Read More

Uncharted waters: The University of Pittsburgh’s football team forays into newly available name, image and likeness opportunities

2022/10/21

I. University of Pittsburgh’s Handing of NIL Change The University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) has taken a progressive stance on its Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) policy; choosing to assist its student-athletes rather than hinder them in pursuit of these newfound opportunities. The recent change in the NCAA’s stance on student-athlete compensation has given the players the opportunity for personal financial gain and the ability to partner with charities. “As it relates to providing our student-athletes with the most extraordinary experience at Pitt, our goal is to be progressive, innovative and helpful in every aspect of their student-athlete experience and the world of name, image and likeness is no different…We look forward to helping our student-athletes learn more about this topic and build a transparent relationship with them and their families so we can assist in their efforts or aspirations to maximize compensation and opportunities involving their name, image and likeness,1” said Heather Lyke, Pitt’s Athletic Director. One of Pitt boosters’ first major foray into NIL came in the form of a traditional NIL collective, Alliance 412. Per NCAA guidance, Alliance 412 seeks to support all Pitt athletics without a formal relationship with the University itself. Instead, the collective hopes to connect Pitt student-athletes with businesses and strategic partners while maintaining transparency and compliance.2 On Aug. 10, 2021, the Steel City NIL Club began operation through a partnership with YOKE. This organization offers a unique approach for members of Pitt’s football team to engage in a variety of NIL opportunities. In contrast to Alliance 412, which engages in more traditional NIL deals, the Steel City NIL Club is a more direct revenue stream for the players. The YOKE platform creates a paywalled community granting paying members special access to the participating players in the form of Q and A’s, and exclusive player created content.3 The profits from these memberships are then split evenly among the participating players. Read More

News & Events

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Marc Raspanti and Pamela Coyle Brecht’s WOLEP Presentation Released
November 28, 2023
Marc Raspanti and Pamela Coyle Brecht‘s presentation “A Practitioner’s Guide to American Whistleblower Programs” is now available through World Online Lawyers With Excellent Practice (WOLEP). Read More
Lourdes Sánchez Ridge appointed Chair of the Allegheny County Bar Association Professional Ethics Committee
November 27, 2023
Pietragallo is pleased to announce that Lourdes Sánchez Ridge has been appointed Chair of the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Professional Ethics Committee. Read More

Upcoming Events

Michael Morse to present at the American Bar Association’s 21st Annual Washington Health Law Summit
December 11, 2023
Pietragallo partner Michael Morse will be presenting at the American Bar Association’s 21st Annual Washington Health Law Summit, on December 11-12, 2023 in Washington D.C.. Read More
Eric Soller to present at 34th Annual Academy of Trial Lawyers Federal Practice Program
December 15, 2023
Pietragallo partner and Chair of the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County’s Federal Practice Program, Eric Soller, will be speaking at the 34th Annual Academy of Trial Lawyers Federal Practice Program on December 15, 2023 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, PA. Read More
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