Thomas D. Rees's Legal Insights
US Supreme Court Limits Scope of Computer Fraud Law
On June 3, 2021, the United States Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision on the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”). Van Buren v. United States, _ U.S. __, 141 S. Ct. 1648, 2021 WL 2229206, 2021 U.S. Lexis 2843. The Court held that the CFAA prohibited only the gathering of information […]
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Invalidates No-Hire Contracts
In 2018, I blogged about the Pennsylvania Superior Court decision in Pittsburgh Logistics Services v. Beemac Trucking, LLC, invalidating a no-hire contract between two transportation firms. Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court. See Pittsburgh Logistics Systems, Inc. v. Beemac Trucking, LLC, _ A.3d , 2021 WL __, 2021 Pa. Lexis […]
US Supreme Court Rejects School District’s Sanctions Against Cheerleader Despite Outburst
By an 8-1 majority, the United States Supreme Court blocked a Pennsylvania school district from punishing a cheerleader for a profane off-campus, off-hours outburst on social media. Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., _ S. Ct. __, 2021 WL 2557069, 2012 U.S. Lexis 3395 (June 23, 2021). The Court’s decision sets limits on how far […]
Offensive Social Media Posts by Pennsylvania Employees Justify Termination
“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” our parents told us. Two recent Pennsylvania employment termination cases give this same advice to adult social media users. In both cases, courts upheld terminations for employees’ mean-spirited off-duty social media comments. In Carr v. Commonwealth, 230 A.3d 1075 (Pa. 2020), a PennDOT employee […]
Ethical Issues for Lawyers in High Profile Cases
High profile legal matters can be exciting to handle. But these same cases present risks that can jeopardize a lawyer’s standing and reputation. At one time or another in our careers, many of us will handle legal matters with high public visibility. The recognition can build our reputation and our confidence. But high-profile work brings […]
Non-Solicitation Agreements- The Third Rail of Employee Mobility Law
When an ex-employee works for a competitor, the violation of a non-compete covenant is clear-cut. But few employment contracts define what it means to “solicit”. What is a non-solicitation agreement? Non-solicitation agreements prevent a departing employee from soliciting the old employer’s customers or workforce to do business or work with a new employer. These clauses […]
Employers Can Now Use After-Acquired Evidence in Court to Show Employee Wasn’t Qualified For the Job
The Anthony decision provides welcome support for employers who find that a discrimination plaintiff has concealed a lack of basic credentials to hold a job. In April 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an employer can defeat an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claim with after-acquired evidence that the ex-employee lacked a […]
How does the Relief For Workers Act Affect Unemployment Compensation Claims?
The new act removes restrictions on eligibility for unemployment compensation, raises the dollar benefit amount; and increases the maximum weeks for collection.
Employers: Does a Force Majeure Clause in Your Contract Cover You During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
The Coronavirus pandemic has upended our lives with little notice. Public events have stopped, schools and stores have closed, the financial markets have been volatile, and people are staying at home. Amid this chaos and uncertainty, how do contracts cover employer emergencies like the Coronavirus? The answer may depend on whether your contract has a […]
Stolen Employee Data: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Decision Breaks New Ground
In late 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided that employees may sue employers for the release of stolen confidential employee data. The Court’s decision in the Dittman vs. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, allowed University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (“UPMC”) employees to bring a class action for negligence after a data breach from UPMC’s computer […]