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Are you a Residential Landowner, Landlord, or Property Management Company? Are you compliant with the most up-to-date Fair Housing Regulations? If not, it could cost you $450,000.00.

Recently, a settlement was entered concerning an alleged violation of the Fair Housing Act. This settlement outlines a major area of liability for landlords.

https://patch.com/pennsylvania/warminster/450k-discrimination-settlement-over-warminster-apartment-rule.

If you wish for me to detail what the settlement entailed, review your policies and procedures, what changes you should or could be making, and create updated policies concerning the major points, please let me know, and I will start to work on it for you.

Fair Housing Regulations
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

It is commonplace for businesses to include a "No-Hire" or "Non-Solicitation" provision in its agreement with another business.

However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has held that a contractual no-hire or "non poach" provision in a contract between businesses is not enforceable under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh Systems, Inc. v. Beemac Trucking, et. al., case no. 31 WAP 2019.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that the no-hire or no-poach provision was a restraint on trade because the two commercial entities agreed to limit competition in the labor market by promising to restrict the employment mobility of business employees. The Court reasoned that while a business has a legitimate interest in preventing its business partners from poaching its employees, who had developed specialized knowledge and expertise in the logistics industry during their training a "no-hire provision is both greater than needed to protect the business interest and created a probability of harm to the public.

The Court also held that the anti-poaching provision must be carefully examined and not overbroad.

So what can you include in your agreement? How can you protect yourself? What provisions are actually enforceable?

This article was originally posted by Fiore & Barber LLC.

BY CHRISTOPHER P. FIORE, ESQUIRE

What is a non-disparagement clause and if one is included in an employment contract can it be enforceable?

A non-disparagement is a clause which specifically enjoins a departing employee from making any statements that could possibly either harm the employer's reputation, goodwill or malign the owner. A Non-disparagement clause is different from a non-disclosure clause.

This distinction was made clear in Savage v. Township of Neptune No. A-1415-20 (App. Div. May. 31, 2022).

This anticipated ruling came after the March 18, 2019 amendment to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("NJLAD") preventing the enforcement of non-disclosure agreements in employment contracts and settlement agreements. In Savage v. Neptune, the New Jersey Appellate Division has now made clear that non-disparagement provisions are not included within the prohibition against non-disclosure provisions in employment contracts and settlement agreements.

The Appellate Division's ruling preserves an employer's ability to include non-disparagement provisions in employment contracts and settlement agreements and enforce them against breaching current or former employees. When drafting employment or settlement agreements, employers should consult with capable legal counsel about strategies to ensure the enforceability of any non-disparagement provisions contained in those contracts.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry promulgated a new overtime regulation that will take effect on August 5. At first glance, the rule appears to merely prohibit the "fluctuating workweek" method of calculating overtime for salaried nonexempt employees. In fact, the rule radically changes the overtime calculations for all nonexempt employees – including those paid on an hourly basis. Pennsylvania will now be a complete outlier (even more complicated than California!) with overtime premiums exceeding three times the amount owed under the FLSA.

If you have any questions, concerns or are in violation, please do not hesitate to contact Fiore & Barber, LLC

Photo by Joshua Olsen on Unsplash

Child support is there to ensure that both parents support their child financially regardless of their relationship. Whether a couple remains friendly or moves far apart from each other, both parents have a duty to provide for their child. But what exactly does child support cover and who decides what the funds are used for?

What does child support cover?

Child support covers a number of needs.

Basic Needs

Basic needs include everything that a child would need on a day to day basis. Child support can be used to cover necessities such as:

  • Housing-related costs to ensure that the child has a safe place to stay. This can include rent payments for a home but it can also include mortgage payments.
  • Food and clothing costs to ensure that the child is well-fed and has well-fitting clothes for daily use and school.
  • Transportation expenses such as car payments and fuel, public transport costs, and also transportation costs for visiting friends, family members, and various activities.

Child Care

There are times where a parent may need to rely on child care services to look after their child. For instance, a parent that must work to provide for their child may need to hire a babysitter or keep their child in a care facility until they are able to finish work.

These costs will be taken into consideration when calculating the amount of child support. Factors such as how much each parent earns and how much time is spent with the child will also be factored in.

School tuition and related expenses

The custodial parent can decide how to best use child support to pay for tuition and school-related expenses. This can include stationery supplies, books, field trips, and even electronic devices for the purpose of education. Child support can also be used for tuition fees for private schools.

While the age of majority is 18 in most states, a parent may still be obligated to pay child support throughout their post-secondary education. Courts may consider factors like the parent’s expectations for the child, the combined financial circumstances of both parents, and if there are alternative sources of funding to provide for the child.

Related expenses may also include tutoring fees, summer camp costs, uniform and instrument costs, and extracurricular events and activities.

Medical expenses

Most child support orders include a requirement for both parents to pay a certain amount towards medical expenses. However, these calculations typically don’t include extra costs such as hospital visits and equipment such as braces. Many of these extraordinary costs are paid for by the custodial parent.

For medical insurance, courts and child support agencies will examine each parent’s situation to see which can obtain quality health insurance for their child. The cost of this health insurance will be taken into consideration. However, if the child receives state-sponsored medical insurance, then the courts will not include health insurance as part of the child support calculations.

Custodial parents decide how the funds are used

It’s worth mentioning that although both parents can communicate on how to use child support funds, the custodial parent has the responsibility of choosing how to use them to provide for the child’s needs.

If a parent objects to how the funds are used, it must first be proved by the objecting parent. Since this is a difficult task, these situations typically only arise when there is a gross misuse of the child support funds. This will prompt a child welfare investigation before leading to further action. However, most courts and child support agencies will not offer assistance if there is a simple disagreement or argument between parents on how the money is spent.

To conclude, child support funds should always cover expenses that are in the best interests of the child and not the parent. Children have the right to have both parents sponsor them and both parents can have a say in how the funds are spent. However, if there are disagreements over how the custodial parent is using the child support funds, then a case can be raised.

Contact Fiore & Barber for more information

If you’d like to learn more about child support or are concerned about the welfare of your child, don’t hesitate to contact Fiore & Barber today for more information. If you suspect that the custodial parent isn’t meeting your child’s basic needs, then it’s important to take action immediately so that the issue can be solved.

From the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry:


PA Dept of Labor Industry

With the introduction of the new Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation System, employers may be searching for a way to report refusals of work. The system does not currently have a designated area where employers can easily make these reports.

Employers are encouraged to continue to use the UC-1921W Online Form. This form can be submitted directly through the PA UC website, or employers can email completed forms to RefusalofWork@pa.govPlease only use one method and do not send multiple reports for the same incident.

A refusal of suitable work issue arises under the following circumstances:

  • An employer offers work to an individual who is NOT already employed by the employer, and the individual refuses the offer.
  • An employee refuses a recall to work after an indefinite lay-off from the employer.
  • An individual discourages being hired, during the interview process.
  • PA CareerLink® refers an individual to an employer and the individual refuses or fails to report for the interview.

Employers should NOT report the following issues using the UC-1921W Online Form:

  • Call-offs/Absent Hours/PTO/Limited Availability
  • No-Show for Shifts
  • Voluntary Quits or Discharges
  • Declined assignments if the individual is still considered employed by the agency
  • Reasonable Assurance for School Claims
  • Any other potential issues involving a current employee or an individual considered, by the employer, to still be employed

So you have represented yourself and a Magisterial District Judgment has been entered again. What do you do? An appeal from a Magisterial District Judge is made to the Court of Common Pleas. The form used to file such an appeal is universal for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The form can be found here.

notice of appeal from magisterial district judge judgment

The form must be completed and filed with the Court of Common Pleas of the County in which the Magisterial District Court Judgment is entered. Once the form is filed, you must serve the filed form on the Plaintiff and the Magisterial District Judge where the judgment was entered. If you are the Plaintiff and you appealed, you must then file a Complaint. If you were the Defendant or one of the Defendants, the burden then shifts to the other party, the other party must file a Complaint.  

Failure to adhere to the strict civil procedural requirements of the law can have a negative effect on your case and even result in your case being dismissed or terminated. Make your next move, your best move and seek a consultation with an attorney at the Law Offices of Fiore & Barber, LLC. 

How to gain custody of a child
Photo Credit: (Source: Pexels).

There are almost 750,000 divorces happening every year in the US. However, each of them is unique and can have long-lasting emotional consequences for everyone involved, especially your children. Making all the right decisions in their best interest is essential to ensure that they will grow up in a loving home where they can flourish.

While child custody and child support are the most important priorities for divorcing parents, they are also the most delicate and strongly disputed topics in most divorces. 

Whether you are looking to obtain full or joint custody of your child, it is vital to understand the steps of a child custody battle and be prepared to present a winning case. The judge will carefully review each piece of evidence you can provide and always make a decision based on the children's best interest. However, understanding what's ahead can help you prepare in the best way.

How to gain custody of a child
Photo Credit: (Source: Pexels).

Consult a Specialized Attorney

If custody of your child is disputed, the first step is always to consult a specialized and highly experienced attorney. While you are not formally required to hire an attorney ("pro se" filing), family law can be challenging to navigate and, without the right knowledge, your chances of obtaining your child's custody considerably decrease. 

During your child custody battle, you will be required to complete specialized forms, file paperwork at the courthouse, and prepare for your hearing. A specialized attorney can prevent you from making mistakes that will delay your court date and help you prepare to present the strongest case for yourself. 

Don't forget that each divorce and child custody battle is unique — understanding the local law and knowing how to behave in front of your randomly assigned judge can be crucial aspects to obtain what you are asking. 

Photo Credit: (Source: Pexels).

Have Honest and Realistic Expectations

Divorces are undoubtedly complicated, but they can be even more so when the emotions and affection for your child are involved. 

However, before appearing in front of a judge, it is essential to understand what to expect from child custody and what to ask for in child custody. While you might want full custody, you should consider whether that's the right decision for you and your child from various viewpoints, such as financial, environmental, and emotional.

Having a full understanding of your life and pre-existing responsibilities won't only help you present a stronger case but also fight for the right outcomes.

Create a Meaningful Relationship With Your Child

During the investigation process, the court will look for any piece of evidence that suggests that you are the most suitable person to obtain custody. While you might already be covering your children's financial, practical, and material needs, you should also do all that is in your power to build a meaningful relationship with them.

Some evidence of this connection might include knowledge of their academic process, social life, sports they might play, and interests. The judge might also look into whether you are actively involved with their lives, attending events, supporting their education, and being present in their everyday lives.

Create A Positive Environment For Your Child

When assigning a child's custody to one of the parents, Courts look for factors that will benefit the children's future lives. Some factors, such as the wealth and gender of the parent, are no longer discriminated against, but the judge will still investigate what living accommodation and environment are best suited for the child's development. 

They are likely to inquire about your child's living accommodations, looking for signs that the child has a dedicated, special space in your home. You might need to provide evidence that you are regularly at your residence, your child always has a bed to sleep in, and your residence is safe and adequate.

Part of creating a positive environment for your child is also treating the other parent with respect. While you might be disputing child custody, it is essential to remain polite, respectful, and open to communication.

Present A Compelling Case and Be Patient

Here at Fiore & Barber, we know that each divorce case is different and unique, and we are ready to put our 25 years of experience at your disposal and help you fight to obtain the child custody arrangements you deserve. 

Photo Credit: (Source: FreePik).

Last Will and Testament
Photo by Melinda Gimpel on Unsplash

The role of the executor of an estate is one of complete trust and supreme responsibility.  Whomever you choose to serve in this capacity will oversee your final wishes to ensure that your Last Will and Testament are carried out as you have set forth. In theory, the person who is the executor of your estate will not have any problems with your beneficiaries. However, unfortunately, there are times when an issue or issues may arise which cause friction between the executor and a beneficiary of the estate.

Here are some of the most frequent issues that can arise:

Conflict of Interest

Often an individual will appoint a person to execute his or her will and that individual is also a beneficiary.  Typically, that is not an issue and the other heirs will understand that being named in a will does not automatically mean that you will not be a fair executor. However, beneficiaries often take issue with an executor based upon the executor fees. There are also times when an executor has abused that position of trust, if they believe that your executor is focusing on his or her own best interest at the expense of their interests and those of the estate.  Lack of trust may lead to claims of a conflict of interest, in an effort to disqualify your executor from continuing to operate in that capacity.

Mismanaging Funds of Estate

The assets of an estate must be managed properly during the probate process. The executor must act in a fiduciary capacity. Securing all assets is one of the most important roles of the position and is vital if the estate has many assets or outstanding debts.  Transactions must be recorded throughout the process of paying debts, filing tax returns, and distributing bequests using the funds or property available.  Sometimes, heirs will believe that the executor is not properly managing the assets of the estate and may file a complaint out of concern for the security of what they expect to inherit.  While an executor is compensated for his or her time, the amount of compensation may seem nominal in comparison to the value of the estate, leading to unease from heirs who believe the executor will find other ways to be compensated.

Lack of Communication

One of the most time-consuming aspects of serving as an executor is communicating with everyone associated with the estate.  Contacting creditors, keeping the courts informed, and talking to the beneficiaries is not always easy.  Unfortunately, some beneficiaries may not be satisfied with the level of communication they are receiving from an executor.  If they believe that they have not been contacted on a regular basis regarding the status of the estate, then they may initiate a complaint or attempt to get your executor removed. Creating your Will and choosing an executor is just one of the many things that you must do in order to ensure your estate is properly and smoothly administered.  The attorneys at the Law Offices of Fiore & Barber, LLC have over 50 years of combined experience to guide you through the entire process, and help you decide who is best suited to manage your estate.  Schedule your free consultation today!

How to respond to a lawsuit without an attorney
Photo Credit: (Source: Pixabay).

Receiving a summons or complaint against you can be a daunting experience, particularly when you don’t have an attorney. As the right to an attorney only applies to incarcerated individuals, as many as 90% of individuals go without legal representation every year. But you are not alone; Fiore & Barber, LLC, is on hand for advice on how to respond to a lawsuit without an attorney.

If you receive a complaint or summons, responding is essential. No response is considered an admission of guilt, and the plaintiff (the person with the complaint) may receive everything they’ve alleged as a default judgment will be passed against you. In most cases, you will have up to 28 days to respond, but this will vary by state.

Analyzing The Complaint

In addition to submitting your response on time, you must also include essential information to register your response successfully. Carefully read the complaint and include the same details in your response regarding the plaintiff, your name and address (you will be known as the defendant), the correct court, county, case number, and the judge. When you read the complaint, take note of every point made in the complaint’s body, as these will be what you are responding to. Make a copy of the complaint you can annotate and keep a clean copy of the original document.

Writing Your Response

Your response should cover every paragraph in the complaint and whether you admit or deny each point raised. If you can’t remember whether part of the complaint is correct, it may be safer to deny it and avoid relying on your memory. For each point that you admit or deny, include a brief reason why. An example would be if the plaintiff alleged you never paid back a loan you’ve already repaid. You can include any affirmative defense at the end of these responses, such as the statute of limitations nullifying the complaint. You should also make sure you include any relevant counterclaims that relate to the plaintiff. Then, ask the judge to dismiss the claim and sign your name and print your contact details below.

How to respond to a lawsuit without an attorney
Photo Credit: (Source: Pexels).

What Is A Counterclaim?

If you feel that the plaintiff wronged you in a way that is financially or legally relevant to the claim, you may want to file a counterclaim. The plaintiff in your original complaint will need to respond to your counterclaim. The judge would need to consider your counterclaim alongside the original claim. A counterclaim is different from a defense. The defense is when there is a reason the complaint is incorrect, while a counterclaim is you suing the individual that filed the complaint. 

A counterclaim doesn’t have to be directly related to the same complaint but does have to be relevant to the plaintiff. For instance, if you live in a rented property and are sued for damages, your counterclaim may be that your landlord didn’t pay you back your security deposit. You must include the counterclaim in your answer; otherwise, you may lose your right to sue.

Filing The Response

Make a copy of your response and mail the first one to the Plaintiff’s Attorney’s address. Tracking the post is essential to make sure you have a record of the delivery arriving. Bring the original response and another copy to the county courthouse. They will charge a filing fee, keep the original, and stamp your copy as proof of your response being submitted. This process covers the counterclaim as well, as this is included in your response. Once you’ve filed the response, you should keep the court updated with any address or telephone number changes. If you have any legal documentation that proves any aspect of your defense or counterclaim, you should start compiling this. Keep at least three copies of these ready.

What Happens Next

After you’ve filed your response, you may be invited to a pre-trial hearing with the judge to see if the case can be settled without a trial. Depending on the pre-trial hearing outcome, you may then be invited to court and present your defense or counterclaim. You can call upon yourself as a witness or call other witnesses relevant to your claim.
The information given here does not constitute legal advice and is not state specific, but we hope it is useful so that you'll know how to respond to a lawsuit without an attorney. If you need a little help, you can always contact us at Fiore & Barber, and we’ll be there for legal advice and support.