Regular visitors to our site may be familiar with our "Best of the Hotline" feature. This is a section where we highlight topics that are on the minds of individuals around the state. If you have a real estate-related question, you might want to check it out.
It is a principle of law that every contract implies a duty of good faith and fair dealing by all the parties who sign the agreement. How that translates into action is less clear, as all experienced attorneys know. Courts can and often do recognize that the bounds of what constitutes proper enforcement and performance under a contract can vary depending on the circumstances of a given case.
No two legal disputes are exactly alike. Each has its own nuances. Because of that, there is no way to predict the outcome of a case. Bringing matters to court is the traditional means by which individuals at loggerheads would seek resolution. However, in recent years, alternative dispute resolution has often proven useful and more cost effective.
Previously, we began looking at the topic of confidentiality and privilege in the context of mediation. As we noted, the general rule is that all mediation communications are both confidential between the parties involved and privileged, meaning that their disclosure may not be compelled in litigation or other processes.
Pennsylvania readers may remember the so-called “kids for cash” scandal, which involved judicial kickbacks in the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. Between 2000 and 2007, two judges had been accepting bribes from Robert Mericle, the builder of two youth centers, in exchange for contracts with the centers and for making decisions aimed at increasing residents at the facilities. Apparently, the judges took over $2.8 million.
Readers may have heard of the ongoing troubles between Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife Sandi Jackson. In 2013, both Jackson and his ex-wife pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and conspiracy for using campaign money on personal expenses, and both subsequently spent time in prison on the convictions. Following the prison sentences, Jesse Jackson Jr. filed for divorce.
In our last post, we began looking at a proposed bill that would require health care providers and health insurers to proceed to arbitration when they cannot agree on who is responsible for paying health care costs that exceed a patient’s in-network costs. As we noted, the specific form of arbitration in which the parties would participate is commonly known as “baseball arbitration.” It is also called either/or or final-offer arbitration. This form of arbitration is commonly used to resolve commercial disputes.
Medical bills can be burdensome to deal with, particularly when they come unexpectedly. One of the ways patients can be surprised by medical bills is when they end up receiving a service from a provider or facility that is outside their network. This can happen even to patients who are careful about selecting health care within their network.
Previously, we began looking at a federal case in Pennsylvania involving the issue of class arbitrability, or the ability to pursue class arbitration of a dispute. The case we’ve been looking at involves an oil and gas lease dispute, and we mentioned that the federal court ruled that the contractual language did not allow for class arbitration, but require bilateral or individual arbitration.
Arbitration can be a useful tool for resolving disputes in a variety of contexts, but it is important for parties who enter into arbitration agreements to always be thorough and clear in addressing matters that could be disputed down the road. One such issue is the arbitrability of class action cases.