Kellie A. McGowan, Esq. to Speak at Real Estate Seminar in Philadelphia

Doylestown, PA – Kellie A. McGowan, Esq. will serve as faculty at a PBI Real Estate seminar on Thursday, March 14, 2019 in Philadelphia, PA.

Ms. McGowan is one of three faculty to participate in this real estate seminar entitled Key Mistakes to Avoid with Residential Agreements of Sale, to be held at the PBI Philadelphia conference center and simulcast in multiple Pennsylvania locations.  The panel will focus on 2019 revisions to the PAR form residential agreement, and discuss key issues often encountered in practice.

Ms. McGowan is a shareholder in the Real Estate, Land Use and Zoning, and Banking practice groups at Eastburn and Gray, PC.  She represents clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey in residential and commercial real estate matters. She also represents clients in zoning, land development and general land use matters. She has frequently served as a faculty member for various educational seminars in Pennsylvania.

To learn more about this seminar, including registration information, please visit www.pbi.org.

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The tradition of excellence at the law firm of Eastburn and Gray, P.C. began more than 140 years ago and continues today. With law offices in Doylestown, Bucks County and Blue Bell, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, our experienced attorneys provide high quality legal services throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  As a full service firm, Eastburn and Gray attorneys practice in diverse areas of the law, effectively meeting the needs of the firm’s clients.

To learn more about our firm, our practice areas and our attorneys, please visit our website: www.eastburngray.com.

Curtin & Heefner Partner Samuel Totaro Receives The Ursinus College Alumni Award for Service to Humanity

Samuel C. Totaro, Jr. has been chosen to receive the Ursinus College Alumni Award for Service to Humanity.

This award pays tribute for time volunteered for the benefit of a community or non-profit institution.

Totaro, a Partner with Curtin & Heefner is best known for his accomplishments in the field of adoption law and related adoption litigation. He has participated in over 4,000 adoptions of children, representing adoptive parents, birth parents and adoption agencies.

Totaro was lead counsel in Gibbs vs. Ernst, a 1994 PA Supreme Court case which established the rights of adoptive parents to be compensated for failure of adoption agencies to fully disclose all relevant and material information in its possession to the adoptive parents prior to adoption. This
case has been cited by over 20 Supreme Courts in other states as controlling law.

He has appeared in media, including Good Morning America, The Today Show and Anderson Cooper Live. In fact, one of Sam’s adoption cases was made into a CBS Sunday Night Movie of the Week, called A Father for Brittany, and continues to be shown on the Lifetime Channel.

Totaro is Past President of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and has served on the Board of Trustees of the National Council for Adoption in Washington, D.C. and the Board of Trustees of both the Bucks County Bar Association and the Bucks County Bar Foundation. He is a Past President of the Richboro and Churchville Rotary Clubs.

He has also served for two decades as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Silver Springs/Martin Luther School, a residential treatment facility and school for emotionally disadvantaged children in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania.

Totaro has received the Bucks County Bar Association’s Mark E. Goldberg Award for Community Service and the United States Congressional Angel in Adoption Award.

Congratulations Sam!

Renowned Montgomery County Judge Joins King of Prussia-Based Law Firm Mannion Prior

(February 28, 2019) Mannion Prior, LLP, a trust and estate litigation firm headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, is delighted to announce that the Honorable Stanley R. Ott (Ret.) joins the firm in an Of Counsel role.

Mannion Prior’s focuses its practice on trust and estate litigation across Pennsylvania in the Orphans’ Court Division. The firm has successfully represented clients in seminal trust and estate matters for nearly twenty years.

In 2018, Judge Ott retired as a Senior Judge in Montgomery County – the 38th Judicial District – after 31 years of experience on the bench. Judge Ott’s decisions are highly regarded throughout Pennsylvania’s legal community and are often referenced by Orphans’ Court practitioners and estate and trust planners.

Judge Ott has issued over 200 published opinions including leading decisions on the rights of alleged incapacitated persons, trustee and executor fees, the mental capacity necessary to execute estate planning documents, and the fiduciary duties of trustees. Notably, it was Judge Ott’s 2004 ruling that allowed the Barnes Foundation to move from Merion to its current home in Philadelphia.

James Mannion, Founder and Managing Partner of Mannion Prior shares, “As the author of hundreds of opinions, many of which are cases of first impression, Judge Ott has been one of the greatest influences on estate and trust law of our time. I’m thrilled that Judge Ott is joining Mannion Prior and will be sharing his talents with our clients and with others through mediation and arbitration.”

Mannion Prior Partner Karl Prior states that “the timing of Judge Ott joining us is ideal, as our firm expands into mediation. His affable manner, deep knowledge of trust and estate law and judicial temperament are ideally suited to helping clients avoid the expense and loss of privacy that accompany public litigation.”

Judge Ott will spearhead the development of Mannion Prior’s mediation and arbitration practice, engage in select trust and estate consultations and counsel, and expert witness engagements.

He will be available for clients beginning March 1.

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About the Honorable Stanley R. Ott

Judge Ott served as a Common Pleas Judge in the 38th Judicial District in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania since 1988. In 1994, he became Administrative Judge of the Orphans’ Court Division. In 2016, he assumed Senior Judge status until his retirement at the end of 2018. Two hundred of his written opinions have been published in the Fiduciary Reporter.

Judge Ott taught the Orphans’ Court practice course at the Court of Common Pleas Judicial School – for newly elected judges – from 2014-2018. Additionally, he served as a leader among his fellow judges as the Chair of the Orphans’ Court Section of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges from 1998 to 2006, and as a judicial representative to the Joint State Government commission’s working group on guardianships in 2006-2007.

Judge Ott remains a frequent lecturer for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, where he served as Director from 2003-2008. He served as adjunct faculty at both Temple and Villanova Law Schools, where he taught Trial Advocacy. He is currently a member of the Joint State Government Commission’s Advisory Committee on Decedents’ Estates Laws and he serves on the Orphans’ Court Procedural Rules Committee. He graduated from Lafayette College and the Cornell Law School.

About Mannion Prior, LLP

Mannion Prior, LLP is a fiduciary litigation boutique. Since its founding in 2001, the firm has established itself as a leading force in will contests, trust and trustee litigation, fee and commission disputes, estate litigation, and guardianship and incapacity proceedings. Led by partners James F. Mannion and Karl Prior, the firm pursues, defends, and counsels on issues involving the standards of care applicable to fiduciaries such as trustees, executors, guardians, charitable organizations, banks, trust companies, partners, attorneys, and officers and directors of corporations. Mannion Prior is a U.S. News and World Report Best Law Firm. Learn more at www.mannionprior.com.

Jordan Yeager Tops Endorsements for Common Pleas Judge by Bucks County Democratic Committee

March 4, 2019, Doylestown, PA—The Bucks County Democratic Committee has overwhelmingly endorsed Jordan Yeager for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County. The Committee, which is the authorized body of the Democratic Party in Bucks County, held its endorsement meeting Saturday at Klinger Middle School in Upper Southampton, PA.
Over 91 percent of Committee members voted for Yeager on the first ballot, with 328 out of 359 members present voting for Yeager. Yeager far exceeded the 60 percent threshold for receiving the Committee’s endorsement and was the only candidate endorsed on the first ballot. The endorsement means that Democratic Committee people throughout the County will be working hard to help Jordan win in the May 21st primary election and the November general election.

“I am deeply honored to be endorsed by the Bucks County Democratic Committee. The vote shows that the Committee recognizes my experience and my lifelong dedication to fighting for fairness and justice for all,” said Yeager.

Ensuring equal rights and justice for all is a main pillar of Yeager’s campaign and a hallmark of 26 years of experience fighting to protect the Constitution’s guaranteed freedoms. Yeager’s 2013 landmark victory in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was the first case in history declaring a state law unconstitutional because it violated the environmental rights of Pennsylvanians.

PAUL R. SHEEHAN JOINS HILL WALLACK LLP AS COUNSEL IN THE TRIAL AND INSURANCE PRACTICE GROUP

MARCH 4, 2019, YARDLEY, PA–Hill Wallack LLP is pleased to announce the arrival of Paul R. Sheehan as Counsel in the firm’s Trial and Insurance Group.  Sheehan, who formerly practiced at Avolio & Hanlon, P.C. in Lawrenceville, N.J., has worked on numerous diverse litigation matters, as well as matters in real estate, business contracts, family law and intellectual property, and will bring his broad-based practice to Hill Wallack. Based in both the Yardley, PA office of Hill Wallack, he will work with clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and beyond.

Prior to his law firm work, Sheehan, a trained artist, was associate director for nine years of Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, a non-profit organization serving artists, authors, and cultural organizations.

“Hill Wallack’s great presence on both sides of the state line will be a boon to my existing clients, and help me to further develop my practice,” said Sheehan.  “I look forward to putting my litigation skills to work for existing and incoming clients throughout the region.”

We’re delighted to have Paul join our growing practice,” said Michael Kahme, Hill Wallack LLP’s Managing Partner. “He’s a fine litigator, and he will be a great asset in handling litigation and other matters out of both Princeton and Yardley.”

Sheehan earned his J.D. from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law in 2003, and edited the Temple International and Comparative Law Journal while there. He clerked for Judge Eduardo C. Robreno in the summer of 2002 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Sheehan earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1991, and Master of Fine Arts at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in 1994.

He is an Approved Arbitrator of New Jersey Superior Court’s Civil Division (Commercial), and was a member of the Mercer County American Inn of Court from 2009 to 2017.

An active volunteer, he is Chairman of the Board of Chandler Hall Health Services in Newtown, Pa., a residential and healthcare community serving older adults in the Quaker tradition, offering services such as independent living, skilled nursing, and memory care.  He coaches youth softball with the Lower Bucks Lady Lions.

 

About Hill Wallack LLP

Founded in 1978, Hill Wallack LLP is a leading full service law firm with offices in Yardley, Pa., and Princeton, Cedar Knolls and Red Bank, N.J. Our regional strength places us in an ideal position in today’s market. With nearly 70 attorneys, our mid-market size allows us to provide sophisticated, high-level service to clients in a cost-efficient, responsive manner. Our attorneys represent individuals and entities in banking, community associations, creditors’ rights, employment & labor law, family law, insurance, land use, litigation and real estate. For more information, please visit www.hillwallack.com.

Grace M. Deon, Esq. Named Highest Recommended Candidate for Judicial Seat

Doylestown, PA – According to members of the Bucks County Bar Association (“BCBA”), Grace M. Deon, Esq. was the highest recommended candidate for a judicial seat on the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County.

 

The purpose of the BCBA Merit Selection Committee is to inform and educate the public and the press about the judicial races in Bucks County. Judicial candidates were asked to complete a questionnaire and were invited to participate in a live interview at the BCBA. After these two events, members of the BCBA were asked to evaluate each of the ten judicial candidates.

 

The results of the survey are available here: https://www.bucksbar.org/latest-news/press-release-2019-bucks-county-bar-association-judicial-plebiscite/.

 

“I am honored and humbled that the BCBA membership who returned ballots ranked me as “Highly Recommended” more than any of the other nine candidates reviewed,” said Ms. Deon. “These results validate that my peers recognize and endorse the importance of a candidate who has extensive experience, integrity, competence and civility in the practice of law.”

 

Ms. Deon is a shareholder and member of Eastburn and Gray’s management committee and has practiced law for 27 years. Her practice focuses on Employment, Commercial and Special Education litigation. She previously served as the President of the BCBA. She has resided in Bucks County for 42 years, and for more than three decades, she has actively participated as a board member and fundraiser for numerous non-profit agencies throughout Bucks County.

 

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The tradition of excellence at the law firm of Eastburn and Gray, P.C. began more than 140 years ago and continues today. With law offices in Doylestown, Bucks County and Blue Bell, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, our experienced attorneys provide high quality legal services throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  As a full service firm, Eastburn and Gray attorneys practice in diverse areas of the law, effectively meeting the needs of the firm’s clients.

 

To learn more about our firm, our practice areas and our attorneys, please visit our website: www.eastburngray.com.

PRESS RELEASE—2019 BUCKS COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION JUDICIAL PLEBISCITE

Recently, the Bucks County Bar Association (“BCBA”), an organization of attorneys dedicated to promoting and advancing the legal system and justice throughout Bucks County, conducted a judicial plebiscite to aid in the evaluation of ten attorneys who announced their candidacy for three vacancies on the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas, as well as to evaluate four (4) current Judges of the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas who are running for retention.   The plebiscite was overseen and administered by the BCBA Merit Selection Committee (“Committee”), with the able assistance of BCBA Executive Director Greg Nardi and the BCBA staff.

The Committee itself was Chaired by two BCBA Past Presidents and was comprised of the BCBA Executive Committee and all Section, Committee and Division Chairs of the BCBA who were not otherwise actively involved in the campaign of any judicial candidate.  Once established, the Committee followed a process that was similar, if not identical, to past plebiscites, most recently done in 2007 and 2009.   The major differences with the current process for judicial candidates, as compared to past plebiscites, were the greater number of candidates (10) and the usage of the BCBA website to provide real-time information, and increase transparency, to aid BCBA members in their evaluations, as well as provide information access to interested members of the public.

The long-standing “Guidelines” for the Merit Selection of Judges by the BCBA includes the “stated purpose,” which is “…to promote “justice and the administration thereof.”   The Committee’s “’purpose” is “to provide a forum within which the membership of the Association can evaluate potential candidates for judicial office and vote on their qualifications.”   The Committee is further charged with the duty of “providing information to the members of the Association and to the public to assist in evaluating candidates for judge, including the following qualities (not listed in order of priority):

  1. Integrity
  2. Judicial Disposition and Temperament
  3. Litigation Experience, Competency, Knowledge
  4. Intelligence, Education
  5. Efficiency, Industriousness
  6. Practical Experience
  7. Community Involvement and Service
  8. Common Sense

The Committee is also charged with the duty of educating the public regarding the merit selection process used by the Association.”

Adhering to these guidelines, the Committee, in mid- to late-January, embarked on an ambitious process to complete the plebiscite in a fair, objective, and timely manner.  Initially, eight announced judicial candidates were contacted, all of whom completed identical questionnaires, submitted to BCBA by February 1, and uploaded to the BCBA website, for member and public review and analysis.  Within days, two more candidates were announced, and their questionnaires were completed and also uploaded.  Simultaneously with the receipt of information from the initial eight announced candidates, ballots and voter eligibility paperwork was sent to Association Members in good standing.   The deadline for submission of completed ballots to the Committee was February 19.   Supplemental ballots for the two additional candidates were also sent out, also with a stated February 19 submission deadline.

Said ballots provided four categories for BCBA Members to evaluate each candidate: “Highly Recommended,” “Recommended,” “Not Recommended,” and “No Opinion.”

A “judicial interview” was also held on February 13 (rescheduled from February 12 due to inclement weather), where all ten candidates appeared at the BCBA and were asked identical questions to an audience of both BCBA members and the general public.   Again, this process was similar to past plebiscite judicial interview sessions, the only significant difference being the greater number of participants than in previous years and the ability of the BCBA to “stream” the event live on its Facebook page.

Then, on February 21, six members of the Committee (three male and three female) tabulated the returned ballots, insuring their legitimacy (i.e., verifying membership “in good standing”) and carefully reviewing all ballots to compute the final results.  Those results were then released the following day (February 22) to the BCBA membership and are now being provided below to the general public by way of this publication.  Said results are also available for review on the BCBA website at www.bucksbar.org.

It is the Committee’s goal and hope that the below results will be informative and of benefit to all members of the BCBA and the public in this important election, and that all those who review these results can be assured of the fairness, integrity and transparency of the Committee, the plebiscite process and the results of this evaluation.

2019 BCBA Plebiscite Results:

731 members of the Bar Association received a plebiscite or ballot with the names of all the judicial candidates. 357 ballots were tabulated.

The results of the Judicial Plebiscite, which evaluated the ten judicial candidates, have been released and are as follows:

Candidate Highly Recommend Recommend Not Recommended No Opinion
Denise Bowman 104 92 21 129
Grace Deon 193 88 15 50
Gary Gambardella 62 103 93 92
Charissa Liller 26 45 165 109
Dianne Magee 148 100 29 67
Allen Toadvine 95 92 26 121
Jessica VanderKam 35 60 121 127
Jordan Yeager 150 77 29 93
Dawn DiDonato-Burke 7 6 58 142
Chris Serpico 93 66 17 43

* Please note, the plebiscite ballot for Dawn DiDonato-Burke and Chris Serpico was sent out ten days after the initial plebiscite separately. Of which 219 ballots were tabulated.

Additionally, the members of the Bucks County Bar Association were asked to provide their opinions if the following Judges should be retained in office as a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County.  Here are the results:

Candidate Endorsed Not Endorsed No Opinion
Hon. Robert Baldi 318 16 18
Hon. Wallace Bateman 320 4 33
Hon. Gary Gilman 310 11 24
Hon. Alan Rubenstein 306 17 23

Pennsylvania Courts Collect $483 million in 2018

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania courts collected over $483 million in fees, fines, costs and restitution in 2018, including a record $130 million paid online through PAePay®, more than a 14 percent increase over the previous year.  PAePay® allows people to conveniently make payments via the Internet with a debit or credit card.

 

The state received $239.2 million of the total $483.4 million collected by the courts. Counties received $158.4 million and municipalities $42.6 million to support local government programs. Crime victims received a total of $39.3 million in restitution, and various entities such as airports, parking authorities and libraries, received $3.9 million. (See Financial Dashboards for more information.)

 

Over the past 10 years, the judiciary has collected nearly $4.65 billion. Most recently, the judiciary’s case management computer systems have helped the courts improve collections by:

 

  • Sharing information electronically with PennDOT for suspension of the driver’s licenses of defendants failing to pay court costs related to traffic violations;
  • Working with the Department of Revenue to recoup outstanding court-ordered obligations by intercepting tax refunds over $25, and lottery winnings over $2,500; and
  • Facilitating a statewide, collection agency contract for counties and providing case financial data directly to outside collection agencies, which are currently used by 44 counties.

 

In addition, magisterial district courts, criminal divisions of the Common Pleas Courts and the Philadelphia Municipal Court collect money from fees, fines, costs and restitution to help support government programs and crime victims.

Wendy Ullman endorses Dianne Magee

We are pleased to announce that State Representative, Wendy Ullman, has endorsed the candidacy of Dianne Magee for Judge of the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas.

 

 

“Dianne Magee is highly accomplished woman with an extensive background in elder law and community commitment with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Bucks County.

I am confident she will execute her judicial responsibilities with legal acumen, compassion, and wisdom.  Bucks County needs people of her caliber as Judge of Common Pleas, and I support her candidacy.

Wendy
Wendy Ullman”

 

Bucks County Elected Officials Endorse Jordan Yeager for Judge

Doylestown, PA—February 25, 2019. Bucks County row officers have joined the growing list of state and local leaders endorsing Jordan Yeager for Judge on the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County. Recorder of Deeds Robin Robinson, Prothonotary Judi Reiss, Controller Neale Dougherty, and Sheriff Milt Warrell are all supporting Yeager in recognition of his experience, temperament, and deep commitment to justice for all.

 

“Jordan has fought for the people of Bucks County. He’s won landmark victories fighting for environmental rights and defended the Constitution to ensure justice for citizens of the Commonwealth. I am honored to support his candidacy for judge on the Court of Common Pleas,” said Bucks County Controller Neale Dougherty.

 

Robin Robinson, Bucks County Recorder of Deeds, voiced her support: “Jordan Yeager has the right temperament, the experience, the knowledge, and the desire to serve the people of Bucks County. Bucks County needs Jordan Yeager as a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas.”

 

Bucks County Prothonotary Judi Reiss stated: “To be an excellent judge, experience and temperament count. Jordan’s breadth of experience, the pursuit of justice that has marked his entire career, his absolute commitment to fairness for all, and his keen ability to listen to and hear others are some of the many reasons I enthusiastically endorse Jordan Yeager for Judge on the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. It is an honor for me to do so.”

 

“I am running for the Court of Common Pleas to ensure justice and fairness for all. I look forward to working with these hardworking and dedicated county officials to serve all the people of Bucks County, and I very much appreciate their endorsements,” said Yeager.

 

Yeager declared his candidacy in December. In January, Yeager received endorsements from State Senators Steve Santarsiero and Maria Collett, and State Representatives Tina Davis, John Galloway, Wendy Ullman, and Perry Warren. Ensuring equal rights and justice for all is a main pillar of his campaign and a hallmark of 26 years of experience fighting to protect the Constitution’s guaranteed freedoms. Yeager’s 2013 landmark victory in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was the first case in history declaring a state law unconstitutional because it violated the environmental rights of Pennsylvanians.

 

You can find more information on Yeager at his campaign website: yeagerforjudge.com.