CIVIL VERDICTS - PREMISES LIABILITY * Estate of Joan DeMarco v. The Marquis - Decedent business tenant of apartment/office complex owner murdered by former employee of defendant in violent assault during office burglary. Plaintiff's estate alleged negligent security theory of liability against defendant. Settlement negotiated with responsible insurance company in excess of One Million Two Hundred Thousand ($1,200,000.00) Dollars prior to trial. * Khaled Bakar v. Home Properties, Inc. - Plaintiff was standing on third floor balcony of friend's apartment owned by defendant, when the floor suddenly collapsed causing plaintiff to fall to ground. Plaintiff sustained fractured ribs, non-displaced tibia fracture and herniated disc, which was treated with physical therapy and multiple epidural injections. Montgomery County jury returned a verdict in the amount of Seven Hundred and Sixty Nine Thousand ($769,000.00) Dollars. Plaintiff filed Motion for Delay Damages which was granted and case was settled for Nine Hundred Thousand ($900,000.00) Dollars. * CIVIL VERDICTS - AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS * Riccardo v. Kim - Plaintiff sustained fractured cervical vertebrae at C5-6 level which required two surgeries and metal screws, arising from a two vehicle automobile accident. Out-of-court settlement negotiated with responsible insurance carriers in amount of Four Hundred Thousand ($400,000.00) Dollars prior to trial. * Estate of Robert Kane v. Joseph Falco - Decedent killed while passenger in one-car accident where intoxicated driver lost control of vehicle. Wrongful death claim settlement negotiated with responsible insurance company in the amount of Six Hundred and Sixty Thousand ($660,000.00) Dollars prior to trial. * Vinnie Moss v. Baldi Transportation/Erie Insurance Company - Plaintiff awarded Two Hundred Thirty Five Thousand ($235,000.00) Dollars by jury after trial. Defendant trucking company bankrupt and uninsured. Uninsured motorist claim settlement negotiated with plaintiff's insurance company in the amount of Two Hundred Thousand ($200,00.00) Dollars. * CIVIL VERDICTS - LIQUOR LIABILITY * Gerald & Irene Kane v. Dublin Wine and Spirits and Commonwealth of PA - Plaintiff husband and wife sustained multiple injuries in head-on collision with drunk driver. Husband-plaintiff sustained head injury resulting in brain hemorrhage and coma, with substantial recovery. Wife-plaintiff sustained broken ankle. Out-of-court settlement successfully negotiated against defendants prior to trial. Husband's claim - Two Hundred Forty Thousand ($240,000.00) Dollars. Wife's claim - Ninety Thousand ($90,000.00) Dollars. (Bucks County)* Edward Pisarek v. Adriatric Club - Plaintiff police officer assaulted while on duty by intoxicated bar patron skilled in martial arts. Plaintiff sustained permanent partial hearing loss and multiple lacerations. Non-jury trial verdict in favor of plaintiff and against defendant in amount of One Hundred Fifty Thousand ($150,000.00) Dollars. (Philadelphia County) CIVIL VERDICTS - PRODUCT LIABILITY* Keith Rosenberger v. Galoob Toys, Inc. - Plaintiff sustained temporary partial loss of vision in one eye with increased risk of future glaucoma, when struck in eye by defendants' children's toy, while plaintiff demonstrated newly purchased toy for child. Out-of-court settlement successfully negotiated against defendants in the amount of One Hundred Fifty Thousand ($150,000.00) Dollars prior to trial. (Montgomery County)* Raymond Cost v. Caterpillar, Inc. - Plaintiff sustained partial amputation of his lower leg, when his foot was crushed in an unguarded pinchpoint of rotating couplings inside engine area, while plaintiff was performing maintenance of defendant's heavy trash compactor/metal shearer. Out-of-court settlement successfully negotiated against defendant in the amount of Four Hundred Seventy Five Thousand ($475,000.00) Dollars prior to trial. (Montgomery County)

Support Laws

By: Erin C. Lentz-McMahon, Esquire

Every case is different, so you should consult an attorney to learn how the law applies to your situation. There are various types of Support that can be sought in Pennsylvania. Clients often ask, “How much money will I be able to get for Support?”

It is important to of Support that can be sought, the duration of such an award, and if there are any deviations or defenses that can result in a reduction in the amount or complete denial to a Support award. You should consult an attorney to fully understand the Support laws and how they apply to your situation. This article will highlight information relating to Child Support, Spousal Support, Alimony Pendente Lite (“APL”), and Alimony.

Child Support

Generally, a parent is liable for the support of any child who is under the age of eighteen and not considered by law to be emancipated. Our state legislature has not defined when a child should be considered emancipated. However, our courts have determined that a child who is eighteen years of age and graduated from high school should be considered emancipated. Nevertheless, emancipation may never occur when an adult child is mentally or physically disabled to the extent that he or she cannot care for himself or herself. The critical inquiry is whether the adult child can engage in profitable employment at a supporting wage.

The amount of Child Support, as well as Spousal Support/ APL, is determined by statewide guidelines that are based on the reasonable needs of the child or spouse seeking support, and the ability of the person paying support. Primary emphasis is placed on the net incomes and earning capacities of the parties, with allowable deviations for unusual needs, extraordinary expenses, and other statutory factors.

The guideline amount for support is presumed to be the correct amount of support. Although, courts can deviate from the guideline amount by making a finding that the award would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case.

Spousal Support/ Alimony Pendente Lite (APL)
If you are married and physically or financially separated from your spouse, you can seek Spousal Support. Spousal Support is different from Alimony Pendente Lite “(APL”), as it can be granted without the necessity of a divorce action being filed wtih the court.

In addition, there are limitations on who can seek Spousal Support. A spouse who has committed any of the fault grounds for divorce can be denied Spousal Support. Also, a spouse seeking Spousal Support must have an adequate legal cause for the separation when he or she voluntarily leaves the marital residence. Spousal Support will continue until a divorce action is filed, at which time the award will be considered APL provided that there are pending economic claims. APL will terminate when the divorce decree is issued.

Alimony

Alimony can only be received by a former spouse after the entry of a divorce decree. Unlike Spousal Support and APL, the Court must consider seventeen statutory factors when determining if alimony is necessary and its duration. The factors are as follows:

  1. Relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties.
  2. Ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties.
  3. Sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
  4. Expediencies and inheritances of the parties.
  5. Duration of the marriage.
  6. Contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.
  7. Extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child.
  8. Standard of living established during the marriage.
  9. Relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment.
  10. Relative assets and liabilities of the parties.
  11. Property brought to the marriage by either party.
  12. Contribution of a spouse as homemaker.
  13. Relative needs of the parties.
  14. Marital misconduct of either of the parties during the marriage. Marital misconduct of either of the parties from the date of final separation shall not be considered by the court in its determinations relative to alimony except that the court shall consider the abuse of one party by the other party.
  15. Tax ramifications of the award.
  16. Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, including but not limited to, property distributed through Equitable Distribution, to provide for the party’s reasonable needs.
  17. Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self support through appropriate employment.

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