Kevin Cornish Elected Partner at High Swartz

High Swartz is pleased to announce that Kevin Cornish has become a partner effective October 1st.

“We are pleased to welcome Kevin as High Swartz’s newest partner. Kevin has been with the firm for over 5 years and has shown great leadership and experience in his practice areas,” said Joel D. Rosen, Managing Partner.

“High Swartz has provided me with opportunities to grow and develop as an attorney.  I am grateful to High Swartz and look forward to serving my clients in this new role,” said Kevin Cornish.

Kevin focuses his practice on commercial, civil, and contract & business litigation. His clients include individuals as well as local, regional, and national businesses.  Kevin has handled cases involving contract disputes, the Mechanic’s Lien Law, the Contractor Subcontractor Payment Act, the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Real Estate Seller Disclosure Law, and the Landlord Tenant Act.  Kevin’s experience includes resolving cases through trial, arbitration, and negotiation.

About High Swartz LLP: High Swartz LLP is a full-service law firm serving clients in the Delaware Valley and throughout Pennsylvania from offices in Norristown and Doylestown. Established in 1914, High Swartz serves the needs of businesses, municipalities, government entities, nonprofits and individuals. With offices in Bucks County and Montgomery County, the full-service law firm provides comprehensive counsel and legal support to individuals and business entities of all sizes across a broad spectrum of industries throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For more information, go to www.highswartz.com.

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Kathleen M. Thomas Speaks at the 2018 PBPMTCA Conference

High Swartz Special Counsel, Kathleen M. Thomas recently spoke at the PBPMTCA (Pennsylvania Business Privilege and Mercantile Tax Collectors Association) Conference on September 27th. Kathleen participated in two sessions during the 2 day conference. The first session was a round-table discussion with, Jan Kowalski of Pine Township, Nicholas Grimes of McKeesport and Tricia Dickert of Allentown on “SB653, Everything You Ever Wanted To Know and What’s Next” which dealt with current proposed amendments to collection methods to the Local Tax Enabling Act. The second session, Kathleen led was “How to Approach Penalty and Interest Abatement and Settlement Offers”, which dealt how to negotiate settlement offers and approach requests from taxpayers for abatement and reduction of penalty and interest when collecting business taxes for municipalities.Kathleen brings more than twenty-five years of legal experience, and concentrates her practice in the areas of municipal law, small business and non-profit law, and civil litigation. She is recognized as an expert in the areas of Pennsylvania Act 511 taxation, Kathleen serves as Special Act 511 Tax Counsel to the Townships of, Lower Merion and Abington, among others.  She also serves as the Act 511 Hearing Officer to multiple municipalities in Montgomery and Delaware Counties.  She also serves as Special Tax Consultant for ordinance and Regulation Revision and litigation for many townships in Pennsylvania.  Kathleen is also experienced in other areas of Municipal Law, including, Right to Know, Land Development, Zoning, Code Enforcement and Litigation.About High Swartz LLP: High Swartz LLP is a full-service law firm serving clients in the Delaware Valley and throughout Pennsylvania from offices in Norristown and Doylestown. Established in 1914, High Swartz serves the needs of businesses, municipalities, government entities, nonprofits and individuals. With offices in Bucks County and Montgomery County, the full-service law firm provides comprehensive counsel and legal support to individuals and business entities of all sizes across a broad spectrum of industries throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For more information, go to www.highswartz.com.# # #

Don Petrille, Jr. Speaks on “The Exploding World of Guardianships”

Norristown, PA, September 26, 2018–High Swartz Of Counsel Attorney Donald Petrille Jr. presented at the Bucks County Bar Association Bench Bar on Friday September 21st. Don presented on “The Exploding World of Guardianships” at the Orphans’ Court section with Judge Gary Gilman and Judge Theodore Fritsch.The panel discussed implementation of the new Guardianship Tracking System, which is designed to allow court personnel to ensure court appointed guardians are taking proper care of incapacitated persons, especially their financial assets. Don, along with court administrators, judges and other persons interested in vulnerable incapacitated persons across the state helped the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, (AOPC), design the system in his capacity as Clerk of the Orphans’ Court of Bucks County.Donald Petrille, Jr. represents businesses and their shareholders as they wrestle with complex issues in today’s ever-changing legal environment. Don has helped businesses through all phases of their development, starting with initial organization, through the operational stage, eventually ending with sale, acquisition or dissolution.  Addressing corporate governance, contracts, procurement, compliance, human resource issues and creditors’ rights, Don has spent his career helping small-business owners succeed. His client base  includes companies in diverse industries such as real estate management, alternative energy, market research, pharmaceutical services, telecommunications, construction and software development. Currently, Don is serving Bucks County as its Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphan’s Court.  He is a past President of the Registers of Wills and Clerks of the Orphans’ Court Association of Pennsylvania, where he serves as its Legislative Liaison to the General Assembly.  He is also serving as the Vice President of the Pennsylvania State Association of Elected County Officials.About High Swartz LLP: High Swartz LLP is a full-service law firm serving clients in the Delaware Valley and throughout Pennsylvania from offices in Norristown and Doylestown. Established in 1914, High Swartz serves the needs of businesses, municipalities, government entities, nonprofits and individuals. With offices in Bucks County and Montgomery County, the full-service law firm provides comprehensive counsel and legal support to individuals and business entities of all sizes across a broad spectrum of industries throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For more information, go to www.highswartz.com.# # #

Mary Cushing Doherty Named to Top 50: 2018 Women Pennsylvania Super Lawyers

High Swartz LLP, a full-service law firm with offices in Norristown and Doylestown, is pleased to announce that partner, Mary Cushing Doherty, was included in the Top 50: 2018 Women Pennsylvania Super Lawyers. Attorneys receiving this designation have undergone a peer-review and research-based selection process. The Super Lawyers organization identifies those outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.A program of Thomson Reuters, Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who, through a peer review and independent research process, have been identified as attaining a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Only the top 5 percent of Pennsylvania’s 50,000 lawyers and the top 2.5 percent of up-and-coming Pennsylvania lawyers are named to the Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists, respectively.Throughout her more than 35 years of practice, Doherty has been invested in the advancement of family law practice and mentoring women and men to be confident and skilled practitioners. An active member of the legal community, Doherty has held numerous leadership positions in the PBA, including chair, officer and council member of the Family Law Section and chair of the Review and Certifying Board tasked with developing and implementing a certification process for various practice areas. Last year, she was recognized with a Special Achievement Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association for her service in navigating a divorce reform bill through the General Assembly — one of the many contributions she has made since joining the Family Law Section in 1979. Doherty is currently a member at-large of the Commission on Women in the Profession Executive Council.During the course of her career, Doherty’s work and service have been recognized with several awards, including the 2018 PBA Eric Turner Award, the 2018 LLS Woman of the Year Award, the PBA Commission on Women in Profession 2012 Lynette Norton Award, 2012 Women of the Year list by The Legal Intelligencer, 2009 Woman of Distinction list by Philadelphia Business Journal, 2008 Frederick Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching and 2006 Margaret Richardson Award.Ms. Doherty has been a Course Planner and Lecturer for the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers since 1990 and for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute since 1985. She also has been a Lecturer for the Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Law Section and Montgomery Bar Association.About High Swartz LLP: High Swartz LLP is a full-service law firm serving clients in the Delaware Valley and throughout Pennsylvania from offices in Norristown and Doylestown. Established in 1914, High Swartz serves the needs of businesses, municipalities, government entities, nonprofits and individuals. With offices in Bucks County and Montgomery County, the full-service law firm provides comprehensive counsel and legal support to individuals and business entities of all sizes across a broad spectrum of industries throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For more information, go to www.highswartz.com.# # #

Starting or Relocating a Business: Watch Out for Local Requirements!

Anyone who starts or relocates a business goes through exciting and challenging times.  It is understandable that the business owner’s primary focus  is getting established and meeting customer needs.  It stands to reason that a business plan will include big picture items such as marketing strategy and customer satisfaction, which in turn may lead to profits and success.But there are many other issues to consider, some of which even experienced business owners overlook.  An important part of the original due diligence process and planning period should be attention to the local rules and regulations.  If proper attention is not given to local regulations, the business can have difficulty down the road.  That is why it is important for any person contemplating a change in business location or starting a business to consult not only an experienced financial professional but an experienced municipal attorney.Three important areas of local regulations are taxation, zoning and land use.  This blog will deal with tax issues.  Zoning and land use issues arise earlier in the process, when a business buys or leases land.  Local ordinances may include additional protections beyond federal or state law (e.g., LGBT), but the pattern of regulation is similar to the federal or state regulations.But taxation can be a trap for the unwary.  When choosing a business location, business organizers often consult with accountants and financial planners who are familiar with federal and state taxes.  These businesses assume that their consultants are familiar with local tax laws.  But this may not be a correct assumption.  The business owner needs to ask whether there are local taxes or registration requirements to be concerned about.  The answer may be yes and should be answered as soon as possible and before the doors open for business.Pennsylvania is unique in that it consists of 67 individual counties and 2,500 municipalities – cities, townships and boroughs, each with their own ordinances and regulations.  Allegheny County, containing Pittsburgh, has 130 municipalities!  The four suburban Philadelphia counties contain 238 municipalities, ranging from Chester County’s 73 down to Delaware County’s 49.Of the Commonwealth’s 2,500 plus municipalities and over 500 school districts, 90% impose Earned Income Tax and 80% impose a Local Services Tax (formerly Occupational Privilege Tax or Municipal and Emergency Services Tax).  These taxes are paid by employees but must be collected and remitted by the employer or the employer may be responsible for penalty, interest and perhaps fines.  The passage of Act 32 of 2008 providing for Central Tax Collection Committees on the County level made the payment, collection and disbursement of Earned Income Tax easier for all parties.  But even this statute requires employers  to collect the taxes from employees and quarterly remit the taxes to the correct county, failure to do so will result in interest and possibly penalty imposed on the employer.It is at least as important that each business know the registration and tax requirements of any municipality in which it does business.   Failure to register a business when required and remit Business Privilege and Mercantile License Tax (business taxes) can result in penalty and interest assessments by the municipality.  These taxes are often overlooked when starting a new business or moving an existing business because less than 10% of all municipalities in Pennsylvania impose Business Taxes.  The taxes are self reporting, and the responsibility for filing and reporting falls on each business.  It is imperative when moving or starting a business, especially in southeastern Pennsylvania, to consult with an experienced municipal attorney who can guide you through the process of making sure you are properly registered and ready to pay any taxes the way they should be paid to avoid any unnecessary penalty and interest.  This will help you keep your focus on the reason you are in business to begin with – your success and the satisfaction of your customers.At High Swartz, our business and corporate law attorneys provide businesses of all types and sizes with efficient and precise commercial law solutions. For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Kathleen M. Thomas at 215-345-8888 or kthomas@highswartz.com.The information above is general: we recommend that you consult an attorney regarding your specific circumstances.  The content of this information is not meant to be considered as legal advice or a substitute for legal representation.

Small business owners: Beware these recent developments in PA law!

For small business owners, the growth of a startup business can cause you to overlook the legal minutiae that come along the way.  It is not unusual to see small businesses that started out using form contracts or invoices that may have done the trick at the time, but ten or more years later they remain unchanged, without any new terms or conditions to accommodate the growth of the business.  The business may have started selling goods or services in a relatively small, local area, then before they know it, especially in the digital age, they are selling goods or services across State borders.  But have they considered whether those initial contract forms sufficiently address the needs of the expanded business?  Or whether the contracts and business practices comply with the laws of the jurisdiction in which they are selling?  As an example of unexpected issues that may arise, below are summaries of two interesting decisions that the Pennsylvania Courts have issued this year.In February, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a decision in Danganan v. Guardian Protection Services,[1] in which a customer (Danganan) purchased a home security system and services from Guardian Protection Services, a Pennsylvania business, for his residence in Washington, D.C.  The service contract had an initial term of three years.  Before the three years expired, Danganan moved and sold his residence in D.C., but Guardian continued to bill him and collect for the remainder due under the contract.  Danganan sued Guardian in Pennsylvania and asserted a claim under the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (“UTPCPL”), which allows consumers to pursue triple damages and attorney’s fees for deceptive business practices.  Guardian tried to get the UTPCPL claim dismissed, arguing that the law did not apply to non-Pennsylvania residents or transactions outside of Pennsylvania.  Ultimately the case was submitted to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which determined that a non-Pennsylvania resident may bring suit under the UTPCPL against a Pennsylvania business based on transactions that occurred out-of-state.This decision should remind Pennsylvania business owners to confirm that its consumer contracts for transactions both inside and outside of Pennsylvania are compliant with the provisions of the UTPCPL and any regulations emanating from that law.  For those newer businesses still filling out those initial forms from the startup days, it is time to have a qualified attorney take a look and make any necessary revisions to properly protect the business.In addition, in June the Pennsylvania Superior Court issued a decision in Webb-Benjamin, LLC v. International Rug Group, LLC,[2] which involved a dispute over a commission payment.  Webb-Benjamin, a Pennsylvania company, entered into a contract with International Rug Group, a Connecticut company, to provide services for a furniture sale in Canada.  Before the furniture sale ended, the two parties decided to terminate their contract but agreed that Webb-Benjamin would be paid its final commission at the end of the Canadian furniture sale.  Shortly after the termination, but before the end of the sale, International Rug registered to do business in Pennsylvania.  When International Rug failed to pay the commission, Webb-Benjamin sued in Pennsylvania to collect.  International Rug attempted to get the case dismissed on the grounds that the Pennsylvania Courts had no jurisdiction over the Connecticut company.  The Pennsylvania Superior Court disagreed and ruled that when an out-of-state company registers to do business in Pennsylvania, it consents to the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Courts, even for disputes that arose before the company’s registration.This decision is pertinent to both Pennsylvania businesses and out-of-state companies that do business in Pennsylvania.  For Pennsylvania companies, the case may provide a basis to sue in Pennsylvania for disputes with out-of-state companies.  For non-Pennsylvania companies, the case points out another factor to consider when deciding to register to do business in Pennsylvania.For all companies, these cases are a reminder to: (1) research the legal requirements for expanding the company’s business into other States, and (2) always have an attorney review the company’s contracts and transaction documents to assure that they include provisions that will best allow the company to grow and avoid undesired consequences.Decisions made and actions taken during the process of business formation will have a significant effect on the owner’s exposure to personal and professional liability and the company’s profitability. At High Swartz LLP our attorneys have extensive experience in a wide range of industries, and provide investors, entrepreneurs and businesses in transition with sophisticated legal counsel designed to protect and promote the new and restructured businesses. As your counsel, we will help you make the right decisions and will implement necessary legal measures on your behalf, allowing you to focus on business management. For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Mark R. Fischer, Jr. at 610-275-0700 or mfischer@highswartz.com.The information above is general: we recommend that you consult an attorney regarding your specific circumstances.  The content of this information is not meant to be considered as legal advice or a substitute for legal representation.[1] 179 A.3d 9 (Pa. 2018).[2] 2018 WL 3153602 (2018 PA Super 187).

Melissa M. Boyd Moderates PBI Meeting

Norristown, PA, September 4, 2018– High Swartz partner, Melissa M. Boyd recently moderated the Pennsylvania Bar Institute course held on August 2 in Philadelphia. The topic of the program was “The Lawyers Guide to Appraisals and Appraisers.” The panelists discussed everything you need to know about residential and commercial appraisals and gave an overview of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).Melissa M. Boyd is a partner with High Swartz LLP. She concentrates her practice on family law including, but not limited to, divorce, pre-nuptial and post-divorce agreements, child custody and support, equitable distribution, alimony, adoptions, protection from abuse and juvenile law. She has dedicated much of her professional career to preserving the rights of children and their families.Ms. Boyd is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Board member of the Pennsylvania Chapter of AAML and member of the family law sections of the American Bar Association, Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Montgomery Bar Association. In 2018 she was awarded the Special Achievement Award by the Pennsylvania Bar Association. She is former Chair of the Family Law Section of the Montgomery Bar Association. Ms. Boyd has been certified as a Family Law Arbitrator by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.A graduate of Washington College and the University of Baltimore School of Law, Boyd has received the highest possible rating from Martindale-Hubbell, has been named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer for 8 years, Best Lawyer in America since 2016 and named among the 10 Leaders of Matrimonial Law in Philadelphia.The Pennsylvania Bar Institute is the continuing legal education arm of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. PBI’s mission is to provide the Pennsylvania legal community with high-quality, comprehensive and accessible continuing education that enhances legal practice. For more information visit http://www.pbi.org/.High Swartz LLP is a full-service law firm serving clients in the Delaware Valley and throughout Pennsylvania from offices in Norristown and Doylestown. Established in 1914, High Swartz serves the needs of businesses, municipalities, government entities, nonprofits and individuals. With offices in Bucks County and Montgomery County, the full-service law firm provides comprehensive counsel and legal support to individuals and business entities of all sizes across a broad spectrum of industries throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For more information, go to www.highswartz.com.# # #