SCOPAblog

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Authored by managing attorney Corrie Woods, SCOPAblog is the only publication providing comprehensive, monthly coverage of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania's precedential opinions and allocatur grants. This docket review is an unbiased resource beneficial to litigators and legal professionals across the state.

Occasionally, Corrie discusses pressing decisions at greater length on The Standard of Review podcast, featuring guest attorneys from the Pittsburgh region.

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January 2023 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Jan 31, 2023 | 0 Comments

This month, the Court issued 4 precedential opinions and 4 grants of allocatur. On the opinion side, I'm most interested in Avery, which interprets the "sore loser" provisions of the Election Code to limit the circumstances in which candidates for office can withdraw from a party primary and run as third-party candidates in the general election.

December 2022 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Dec 30, 2022 | 0 Comments

This month, the Court issued 3 precedential opinions and 2 grants of allocatur. On the opinion side, nothing so entertaining as a good Christmas movie, but a few interesting points worth making.  In Gibraltar Rock, the Court reemphasized that lower appellate courts should not raise issues sua sp...

November 2022 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Nov 30, 2022 | 0 Comments

The Court issued 3 precedential opinions and 2 allocatur grants in November 2022. This month on SCOPABlog, the Court reminds courts to stick the law and avoid getting too folksy in defining "reasonable doubt," and takes up review to address a conflict between the Adoption Act's mid-20th century mores and the reality of modern family arrangements.

October 2022 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Oct 31, 2022 | 0 Comments

This month, the Court issued 4 precedential opinions and 5 allocatur grants. On the opinion side, the Court in Scott dealt with a creative, if ill-fated, effort to challenge Pennsylvania's statute providing that defendants convicted of second-degree murder (i.e., committing a felony during which...

September 2022 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Oct 02, 2022 | 0 Comments

This month, the Court issued 8 precedential opinions and 2 allocatur grants, summarized below.  But the Court's work product this month is overshadowed by the tragic loss of Chief Justice Max Baer, who passed away this weekend at the age of 74, just three months from what would otherwise have bee...

August 2022 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Aug 31, 2022 | 0 Comments

This month, the Court issued 9 opinions and 4 allocatur grants.  On the opinion side, McLinko, which is the latest in legal challenges to Pennsylvania's 2020 mail-in voting legislation, has likely grabbed the most headlines.  For the uninitiated, the legislation was initially the product of all-t...

July 2022 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Jul 31, 2022 | 0 Comments

This month the court issued 4 precedential opinions and 3 allocatur grants.   On the opinion side, On the allocatur side, Precedential Opinions In re: Nomination of Jordan, 56 MAP 2022 (Opinion by Wecht, J.) (holding qualification challenges to candidates for General Assembly are justiciable ...

June 2022 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Jul 01, 2022 | 0 Comments

This month on SCOPABlog, the Court issued five precedential opinions and eleven grants of allocatur On the opinion side, the Court issued two opinions refining its "illegal sentence" doctrines, one of the more confusing areas of Pennsylvania criminal law, in part because the phrase "illegal sent...

May 2022 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | May 31, 2022 | 0 Comments

This month on SCOPABlog, the Court issued one precedential opinion and five grants of allocatur.  On the opinion side, there is only A.L., in which the court addresses a version of a question it's addressed many times before: whether an out-of-state offense is sufficiently similar to an in-state ...

April 2022 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | May 04, 2022 | 0 Comments

This month, the Court issued 2 precedential opinions and 7 grants of allocatur.  On the opinion side, the Court issued only two precedential opinions, both in capital cases, and both quietly reaffirming or expanding constitutional protections for criminal defendants...

March 2022 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Apr 01, 2022 | 0 Comments

This month, the Court issued 1 (maybe) precedential opinion and 10 grants of allocatur.  On the opinion side, on March 9, the court issued its highly anticipated decision in Carter, adopting a remedial Congressional redistricting plan proposed by the Carter petitioners, a citizen-group represent...

February 2022 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Feb 28, 2022 | 0 Comments

This month, the Court issued 2 precedential opinions and 5 grants of allocatur. On the opinion side, the most significant opinion is one that hasn't been written yet.  In Carter v. Chapman, 7 MM 2022,* the Court issued an order adopting a remedial Congressional redistricting plan in the wake of ...

January 2022 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Feb 01, 2022 | 0 Comments

This month, the Court issued 0 published opinions and 5 allocatur grants.   On the opinion side, well, crickets.  But on the allocatur side, the Court in Rosario and Verbeck is taking up review to consider two criminal-defendant friendly Superior Court precedents: in Rosario, the Superior Court'...

December 2021 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Jan 17, 2022 | 0 Comments

This month, the Court issued 25 (!) opinions and 2 allocatur grants.   The Court's tour de force this month likely owes not to any desire on the Justices' part to avoid celebrating the holidays, but, rather, to the fact that Justice, now Chief Justice Emeritus Saylor faced mandatory retirement on...

November 2021 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Dec 01, 2021 | 0 Comments

This month, the Court issued 9 precedential opinions and 9 allocatur grants. On the opinion side, the standout is J.S., in which the Court addresses the thorny issue of balancing students' free speech with the government's interest in protecting the school environment, in the context of a studen...

The Standard of Review; Episode 9

Posted by Ashley Woods | Nov 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

In this month's podcast episode, Corrie interviews fellow appellate attorney Pete Winebrake of Winebrake & Santillo to discuss In Re: Amazon.com, Inc., Fulfillment Center Fair Labor Standards Act and Wage and Hour Litigation (In Re: Amazon) in which SCOPA held that an employee's time spent on an employer's premises awaiting mandatory security screening constitutes compensable time for purposes of Pennsylvania's Minimum Wage Act, and that the maxim de minimum non curat lex, or, the law does not care for trivialities, does not apply to time worked for purposes of that Act.

October 2021 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Nov 01, 2021 | 0 Comments

This month, the Court issued 6 precedential opinions (and 1 non-precedential opinion) and 5 grants of allocatur. On the opinion side, the Court issued two decisions that are sure to multiply litigation.  First, in Firearm Owners Against Crime, it has again seemingly expanded the availability of ...

The Standard of Review; Episode 8

Posted by Ashley Woods | Oct 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

In this month's podcast episode, Corrie interviews fellow appellate attorney Teri B. Himebaugh to discuss Commonwealth v. Shaw, in which SCOPA held that petitioners pursuant to the PCRA may assert claims of ineffective assistance of their appellate counsel for the first time on appeal. Listen, share, and subscribe to The Standard of Review by visiting our podcast website. 

September 2021 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Sep 30, 2021 | 0 Comments

This month the Court issued X precedential opinions and Y grants of allocatur. On the opinion side, two cases this month, Reid and Flor, demonstrate an important feature/bug of the Court's jurisprudence.  In Pennsylvania, appeals in criminal cases generally are taken first to the Superior Court,...

The Standard of Review; Episode 7

Posted by Ashley Woods | Sep 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

In this month's podcast episode, Corrie interviews fellow appellate attorneys Dan McLane and Tom Sanchez  of Eckert Seamans to discuss Pittsburgh Logistics Sys., Inc. v. Beemac Trucking, LLC, a case in which the Court held unanimously that the Restatement test for no-hire/no-poach provisions ancillary to a services contract between two business entities governs in Pennsylvania and finding the subject no-hire/no-poach provision to be unenforceable.

August 2021 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Aug 31, 2021 | 0 Comments

This month, the Court issued 10 precedential opinions and 11 grants of allocatur. On the opinion side, I'm most interested in Howard, in which the Court's ostensible question is whether a parent's mere failure to put a child in a car-seat in a car-for-hire constitutes the criminal offense of end...

The Standard of Review; Episode 6

Posted by Ashley Woods | Aug 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

In this month's podcast episode, Corrie interviews fellow appellate attorney Nathan Murawsky of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin, PC to discuss Wise v. Huntingdon Cnty. Housing Dev. Corp., a case involving statutory sovereign immunity, and an exception thereto for injuries resulting from dangerous conditions of the Commonwealth's real estate.  In Wise, the Court at long last reassesses and rejects some of the more bizarre distinctions in this area of the law.

July 2021 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Aug 01, 2021 | 0 Comments

This month, the Court issued X precedential opinions and Y grants of allocatur. On the opinion side, . . . On the allocatur side, . . .      Precedential Opinions Commonwealth v. Fitzpatrick, 6 MAP 2020 (Opinion by Wecht, J.) (holding homicide victim's statements as to who would kill her were...

The Standard of Review; Episode 5

Posted by Ashley Woods | Jul 26, 2021 | 0 Comments

In this month's podcast episode, Corrie interviews fellow appellate attorney Aaron Marcus of the Defender Association of Philadelphia to discuss Commonwealth v. Alexander, in which SCOPA held that the Pennsylvania Constitution provides motorists greater privacy rights than the federal Constitution, requiring any search of an automobile in Pennsylvania be supported not only by probable cause, as the federal Constitution requires, but also by exigent circumstances that make it impracticable to obtain a warrant. Their invigorating discussion delves into the privacy protection distinctions between the US and PA Constitutions, how bootlegging is responsible for current vehicle search precedent, and when stare decisis factors into a court's decision.

June 2021 Docket Review

Posted by Corrie Woods | Jun 30, 2021 | 0 Comments

This month, the Court issued 4 precedential opinions and 5 grants of allocatur. On the opinion side, the far-and-away headline-grabbing case is Cosby, in which the Court held that convicted sexual offender Bill Cosby was entitled to enforcement of former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce...

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