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York and Lancaster PA Law Blog

Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation: Fun With Claim Forms

I have been attending unemployment compensation in Pennsylvania for over 20 years and I am still quite surprised to see people who complete their initial questionnaires for unemployment claims in a way that ends up costing them dearly at the Referee's hearing later on. Furthermore, it is not only the employees who make these errors, but employers as well.

Right To Remain Silent? Take It!

Ask any attorney and they will tell you that if you are questioned by the police about a crime, say nothing and contact a lawyer. Most Americans have heard about the Fifth Amendment, or the "right to remain silent," but think it's only invoked by criminals or people with something to hide. After all, if someone is innocent, why should they not tell the truth?

Infant Adoptions: Know the Hospital's Discharge Policy

Under Pennsylvania adoption law, a birth mother may not consent to the adoption of her child until at least 72 hours after birth. Hence, a birth mother may not terminate her own parental rights until at least 72 hours after birth has expired. After that time, more complex legal adoption procedures apply.

Cancellation of Debt Income

In 2007, shortly before the recent mortgage foreclosure crisis, Congress passed the Mortgage Debt Relief Act, which provided that the cancellation of mortgage debt through a mortgage modification, foreclosure, or short sale (i.e., selling the home for a sales price that is lower than the mortgage balance) was not taxable income. Through a series of extensions, this act was made effective through December 31, 2013. However, Congress was unable to pass an extension to keep the law in effect through 2014. What this means is that,...

Free Speech and Consequences

"He who keeps his mouth and his tongue
keeps himself out of trouble."
Proverbs 21:23

As a civil rights attorney in Pennsylvania, I am often asked questions about our constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech. Many individuals misunderstand this constitutional liberty and misapply it as well. Although the First Amendment prohibits Congress from making a law that would abridge the Freedom of Speech, it does not promise freedom from the consequences of our speech.

Even with this Constitutional Amendment that prohibits governmental interference with our speech, the Supreme Court has made a few exceptions to an outright prohibition of regulation. For instance, the government has been allowed to restrict speech in the areas of...

Private Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Insurance in Pennsylvania

Many times, people will not think about their private, short-term or long-term disability plan until after something happens to them. Only then, do they find out whether the plan they've been paying for all those years is any good or not.
The first thing a person who is applying for short-term or long-term disability benefits quickly learns from their private disability insurance company is that getting paid...

Unemployment Compensation Hearings. What's It All About?

I have been going to Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Hearings for over 20 years. From York to Lancaster to Harrisburg, whether I represent employers or unemployment compensation claimants, I am still befuddled by the number of times I appear at the hearing and I see how casually the other party approaches their hearing. Sometimes a party will even show up with a lawyer who doesn't have a clue about the unemployment compensation law.
An unemployment compensation hearing in Pennsylvania is, in many respects, a mini trial. This hits the parties, often for the first time, when...


A very recent case from the Superior Court of Pennsylvania held that in child custody proceedings, the court may not force a party to give to the court or the other party his/her mental health records. The court also can not compel a party to the custody case to sign a release so others, including the other party, can obtain his/her mental health records. This decision was based in part on the HIPAA federal law concerning the privacy of one's medical records.

It appears that the "best interest of the child" standard does not....

Collisions with Deer and Pennsylvania Motorists: Who knew?

I come from a family of hunters, especially deer hunters. As a lawyer, I have been helping folks who've been in all manner of car crashes in Pennsylvania for over 22 years. So I was quite intrigued by a recent article I read about statistics involving deer accidents and motor vehicles. As it turns out - and this was the surprising part - of all the states in the U.S., Pennsylvania is the state with the highest number of car accidents involving deer each year. Some of my hunting friends would be surprised especially given the virtual disappearance of deer in the woods during hunting season lately, but that's a story for another day. Nevertheless, statistics show that motorists hit 115,571 deer in Pennsylvania from the summer of 2011 until the summer of 2012. Second, is Michigan with 97,856 for the same period, and New York is third at 80,262 deer struck.
The main point of this blog then, is to sound the alarm to anyone who is reading it, that if you are going to be driving on Pennsylvania's roadways, you owe it to yourself and your family to be extremely careful while driving, especially in areas where deer are known to be present. Also, deer are generally more prevalent on roadways at dusk and in the evening hours.
Also, you want to be sure that you have proper automobile insurance to cover you (i.e., for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost time from work, etc.) and your car in case you strike a deer while driving in Pennsylvania (or any state for that matter).
If you have any questions about the kinds of auto insurance coverage you might need or, if you happen to be in a collision with a deer on Pennsylvania's roadways, please contact the personal injury lawyers of Menges & McLaughlin, for help in York, Lancaster, and surrounding counties for help. We will provide helpful advice and handle your case from start to finish.

Concealed Carry Insurance

As a criminal defense attorney who has conducted concealed carry seminars in both York and Lancaster Counties, one of the questions I consistently get asked is about the availability of insurance to protect an individual from liability in the unfortunate event that they are involved in a self defense shooting. Such insurance policies are available, and can provide impressive coverage for comparatively little cost. In selecting a policy, you should ensure that you are getting coverage that provides for your legal defense - both civil and criminal, as well as for a civil judgment that could be entered against you. Additional types of coverage are also available, including coverage that pays...