Court Upholds Judgment Against Former Union Coach Piotr Nowak

Piotr Nowak leads the Philadelphia Union on the field to face the FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium on May 19, 2012, in Frisco, Texas.

Piotr Nowak leads the Philadelphia Union on the field to face the FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium on May 19, 2012, in Frisco, Texas.

The Philadelphia Union’s first-ever coach has lost his wrongful termination suit against the soccer club.

Piotr Nowak led the Union from 2010 to 2012 — he took the club to its only playoff spot in its second season — before being fired in June 2012, after which stories emerged that he had allegedly mistreated players, hazed them and withheld water from them even during activities on hot days, and that he had broken other team rules. The club used that evidence to say Nowak was fired “for cause,” and thus not owed any compensation under his contract, which otherwise ran to 2015.

An arbitrator in the case, Margaret Brogan, had already ruled in the club’s favor. A federal district court last month affirmed the decision. Read more »

Man Arrested and Interrogated in State Police Ambush Files Lawsuit

Pennsylvania State Police logo - patch

Jeffrey Hudak of Clarks Summit, Pa., filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against several Pennsylvania state troopers whom he claims unlawfully arrested him back in September of 2014, using excessive force, in the immediate manhunt following the ambush shootings of two state police troopers in Blooming Grove. Hudak also says he was harshly interrogated and denied an attorney.

While Hudak was identified in the press as a person of interest in the case, he claims that during his interview with the defendants, it was clear that he was being accused of shootings which killed a state trooper and seriously injured another.

Eric Frein, the man police ultimately identified as the suspected assailant, was finally taken into custody nearly two months after the attack, in late October.

The lawsuit (below) names state troopers Benjamin Clark and Kyle Hnat as defendants, as well as two unidentified male troopers and two unidentified female troopers involved in Hudak’s arrest. Court papers charge that Clark and Hnat put Hudak through “hours of intense questioning and unsubstantiated accusations … and his requests for an attorney, to use the restroom and/or to make a phone call were ignored and/or denied.” Read more »

Judge: No Pay for Penn Track Athletes

Lauren Anderson, Gillian Berger, Taylor Hennig | Penn Athletics

Lauren Anderson, Gillian Berger, Taylor Hennig | Penn Athletics

There will be no pay for Penn track-and-field athletes.

A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that a trio of such athletes are not — as they contended in a lawsuit — ”employees” of the university, and thus not subject to federal labor laws guaranteeing a minimum wage for their work.

“The Supreme Court has recognized that there exists in this country a ‘revered tradition of amateurism in college sports,’ a fact that cannot reasonably be disputed,” Judge William T. Lawrence wrote in dismissing the case. (See the full ruling below.) “So, too, is the fact that generations of Penn students have vied for the opportunity to be part of that revered tradition with no thought of any compensation.”

The ruling comes as the issue of athlete rights — and compensation — hits the front burner in Philadelphia. Drexel University announced this month it will host a summit on the issue just as the NCAA basketball tournament is reaching its “March Madness” heights next month. Read more »

Lawyers for Amtrak Crash Victims Rip Engineer’s Statements

Robert J. Mongeluzzi (left) and Tom Kline - Amtrak 188 press conference

Robert J. Mongeluzzi (left) and Tom Kline, lawyers for victims of the derailment of Amtrak 188, speak at a press conference today. (Photo | Dan McQuade)

Lawyers for 29 victims of last year’s derailment of Amtrak 188 say Brandon Bostian‘s statements, released today by the National Transportation Safety Board, are an insult to the victims.

“He had absolutely no recollection whatsoever of the events [right after the crash],” Robert Mongeluzzi told reporters today at a press conference. “Now, after months pass after the accident he now has a sudden memory. That, for the victims, is going to be a bitter pill to swallow.”

Mongeluzzi and Tom Kline, who both represent victims in a lawsuit against Amtrak over the crash last year, gave a press conference about an hour after the NTSB released its findings. They zeroed in on Bostian’s statements; one was taken just days after the crash in May, while another was on November of last year.

“Unfortunately, the last memory I have on the way back is approaching and passing the platforms in North Philadelphia,” Bostian said in May. “I remember turning on the bell, and the next thing that I remember is when I came to my senses I was standing up in the locomotive cab after the accident.” Read more »

Lawsuit: Former Roots Bass Player Sues Questlove, Black Thought

Leonard "Hub" Hubbard -- second from left -- and other members of the Roots in happier times. (AP Photo)

Leonard “Hub” Hubbard — second from left — and other members of the Roots in happier times. (AP Photo)

Leonard “Hub” Hubbard joined The Roots in 1992, back when the Roots were just a really good local band and long before Questlove and friends showed up on America’s television screens five nights a week with Jimmy Fallon. But Hubbard left the group in 2007 after a cancer diagnosis, and now he is taking Questlove and others to court. Read more »

Seth Williams Reacts to Lawsuit Report

Seth Williams

District Attorney Seth Williams today responded to a Daily News report that his office had settled a racial discrimination lawsuit with a former employee, taking to the paper’s letters-to-the-editor page to assert: “I am proud of my record, my decisions and the way I have run the District Attorney’s Office.”

The paper reported Tuesday that the suit was brought by MK Feeney, a white female homicide prosecutor who says she was fired in 2011, accused of being “untruthful” in the aftermath of a Daily News cover story about turmoil in the the prosecutor’s office. Her suit said that a fellow homicide prosecutor — a black man, and a member of the same fraternity as Williams — later confessed to leaking the info, but was not fired. The city settled the complaint for $190,000, and Williams admitted no wrongdoing.

“In the (Daily News) story, the reporter failed to mention two things,” Williams wrote today. “First, that he was the reporter who received the leaked information in 2011 from the individual profiled and failed to disclose that in his article. Second, that the individual who was not fired was treated differently because he was honest, remorseful and admitted that he conspired with the profiled employee to improperly share expungement information that could harm another assistant district attorney.”
Read more »

Dad Sues White Dog Cafe for Sexual Harassment on Behalf of Late Daughter

White Dog in Wayne

White Dog in Wayne

The White Dog Cafe always seemed like one of the more progressive restaurants in the Philadelphia area. Its founder, Judy Wicks, built a reputation around sustainability, responsible business practices, and, according to her web site, “the importance of feminine energy in building a new more compassionate economy.” But Wicks sold the restaurant to Marty Grims in 2009. And allegations that have surfaced in a new federal lawsuit make the Wayne location of the restaurant sound more like a men’s locker room. Read more »

British Parliament Member Sues Philly Art Dealer Nicky Isen Over Warhol Paintings [UPDATED]

Left: British Parliament member Nadhim Zahawi in official British government photo. Right: One of the Warhol paintings in question.

Left: British Parliament member Nadhim Zahawi in official British government photo. Right: One of the Warhol paintings in question.

UPDATE 2/22/2016: British Parliament member Nadhim Zahawi has withdrawn his lawsuit against Philadelphia gallery owner Nathan “Nicky” Isen.


The transactions of prominent Philadelphia gallery owner Nathan “Nicky” Isen have long been the subject of speculation and controversy, as detailed by Philadelphia magazine’s Steve Volk in this August 2015 feature. Last year, Isen was sentenced to community service and probation in federal court after pleading guilty to money laundering, and now he has raised the ire of a prominent British politician, who is suing Isen for fraud. Read more »

Is Walmart Responsible for This Young Mother’s Murder?

Francine Ramos, a mother of three, was killed with ammunition purchased at an Easton Walmart.

Francine Ramos, a mother of three, was killed with ammunition purchased at an Easton Walmart.

Francine Ramos, Trevor Gray and Edward Ketrow were all gunned down and killed last July 5th, allegedly by three men on a random shooting spree in Easton and Allentown, Pennsylvania. And now the families of those three victims have filed a wrongful death suit against retail behemoth Walmart, claiming that the store and its employees were wrong to sell ammunition to an underage and intoxicated suspect. Read more »

Woman Says Amazon Fired Her Because of Pregnancy

Joe Ravi /

Joe Ravi /

A former employee of Amazon’s Lehigh County distribution center is suing the company, saying she was fired because the company wouldn’t accommodate her pregnancy.

Cathleen Stewart filed the suit last month in the federal court at Philadelphia. She says she told her supervisor in February 2011 that she was pregnant — but was still given a verbal warning for time spent “off-task” while she experienced nausea and required frequent bathroom trips. Read more »

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