Complaint: SRC Violated Pennsylvania Sunshine Act

As anticipated, public school activists have filed a complaint against the School Reform Commission, charging the SRC violated the state’s Sunshine Act when it unilaterally canceled the teachers’ contract last month.

The Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools and member Lisa Haver filed the complaint. Though the SRC meeting that canceled the teachers’ contracts was done on a Monday morning with little notice, the SRC published an ad in the Inquirer and on that Sunday. The state’s Sunshine Act requires public meetings to be advertised at least 24 hours in advance.

But the lawsuit says those advertisements did not fulfill the Sunshine Act’s requirements.

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Main Line’s Overbrook Golf Club Hit With Messy Sexual Harassment Suit


The Overbrook Golf Club may bear the name of the crowded, rough-in-parts neighborhood that sits on the western edge of Philadelphia, but the exclusive private club is very far removed from the inner city, located instead on 128 “magnificent, rolling acres” in Villanova, the “heart of the fabled Philadelphia Main Line,” as the club describes it. There’s a 25-meter pool, a 35,000-square-foot “Georgian manor” for member dining, and, of course, an exquisite golf course, where its members exchange blue-blooded niceties and market tips. But a new lawsuit casts an ugly shadow on all that high-society tidiness. Read more »

Lawsuit: School Funding in Pennsylvania is Unconstitutional


Seventeen years ago, the city and School District of Philadelphia filed suit against Pennsylvania, accusing it of failing to provide sufficient education funding in violation of the state Constitution, which obligates the state legislature to “provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education.”

It didn’t work. Commonwealth Court rejected the suit, and the state Supreme Court in 1999 refused to hear an appeal.

Now school funding advocates are looking for a rematch. A potentially momentous lawsuit was filed in Commonwealth Court this morning, claiming that the state has “adopted an irrational and inequitable school financing arrangement that drastically underfunds school districts across the Commonwealth and discriminates against children on the basis of the taxable property and household incomes in their districts.”

One of many striking elements of this suit is that the School District of Philadelphia — which would be among the greatest beneficiaries of a successful lawsuit — is not among the plaintiffs.

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Lawyer Told to Pay $1M for Allowing Smoking Reference at Trial

A Philadelphia judge has ordered a suburban defense attorney to pay nearly $1 million for allowing an expert witness to make a smoking reference during a lung cancer-related medical malpractice trial.

The defense attorney, Nancy Raynor, says she’s going to fight it. She is calling for an investigation into the judge that issued the order, Paul Panepinto. “I’m not only going to appeal the decision, I am going after everyone in this,” Raynor told The Legal Intelligencer. “If they think for one nanosecond that I’m laying down and putting up with their bullshit, they’re crazy.”

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Philadelphia Sued Over City Council Speech Rules

"Justice" engraved on Philadelphia's City Hall

Photo | Jeff Fusco

A Philadelphia man has sued the city in federal court over the public comment rules at City Council meetings.

Patrick Duff, 38, argues city policy on public comment at City Council meetings violates the First Amendment and the state’s Sunshine Act. Duff’s lawsuit says city policy only allows for public comment on topics on the City Council agenda. Duff believes the city must allow citizens to comment on any subject at City Council meetings.

Four years ago, a lawsuit forced the city to have public comment at City Council meetings at all. For the past 60 years, City Council had limited public comments to committee meetings, rather than its general sessions.

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10 Reasons Cheyney Alumni Are Suing Pennsylvania and the Federal Government


A coalition known as “Heeding Cheyney’s Call” (HCC), which consists of Cheyney University alumni, students, professors, staffers, and retirees, as well as community activists, religious leaders, and elected officials, today is suing the Commonwealth (full suit below) for continuing what we believe are decades-long civil rights violations against this great school.

HCC is also suing the federal government, claiming that it’s stood idly by and enabling those violations by doing nothing to stop them. You want proof? Here’s the good, i.e., Cheyney’s greatness, the bad, i.e., racial discrimination, and the ugly, i.e., well, that’s the previously mentioned racial discrimination stuff.

Let me count the ways: All 10 of’ ’em:

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Lawyer Who Filed Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven” Suit Could Be Disbarred

stairway-to-heaven-lawsuit-led-zeppelin-attorneyRecently, Media, Pennsylvania-based attorney Francis Malofiy scored a small victory against Led Zeppelin in his “Stairway to Heaven” plagiarism lawsuit when a Philadelphia federal judge denied the band’s motion to dismiss the case or transfer it to another jurisdiction. But if a disciplinary panel doesn’t decide in his favor, Malofiy could potentially be disbarred from Philadelphia’s federal court thanks to his actions in another copyright case, one he filed against music mogul Usher.

The Usher suit has been winding its way through the federal court system since back in 2011, when Malofiy, seen here in a publicity photo from his website, sued Usher and others on behalf of a no-name Philadelphia songwriter named Dan Marino, who claimed that he never received proper credit for the R&B star’s perfectly unmemorable 2004 song “Bad Girl.” Here is Usher performing the tune with Beyonce.

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Report: Philly Paid Out $40 Million for Police Misconduct


MuckRock, an investigative website that specializes in open-records requests, says Philadelphia has paid more than $40 million to settle nearly 600 police misconduct suits since 2009.

Sound like a lot? The folks at MuckRock think so.

“The numbers dwarf comparable statistics in other major cities for which MuckRock obtained the same data,” MuckRock reported. “For example, the cities of Indianapolis, San Francisco, San Jose, and Austin settled or lost a combined 122 police misconduct cases — compared to 586 cases in Philadelphia.”

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Ex-Worker Sues, Says He Awoke Post-Colonoscopy With Pink Panties On

A man in Delaware is suing a surgical center, alleging someone put pink panties on him after he had a colonoscopy.

Andrew Walls, 32, sued the Delaware Surgical Center October 10th for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Walls was an employee at the center at the time.

In 2012, Walls says he was placed under anesthesia for a colonoscopy. When he woke up, he saw he was wearing a pair of women’s pink panties. “When the plaintiff initially presented for his colonoscopy he had not been wearing pink women’s underwear and at no time did the plaintiff voluntarily, knowingly or intentionally place the pink women’s underwear upon himself,” the lawsuit reads.

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