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Lock unlocked with 1's and 0's spilling out; hacker to the rightDespite the rules and security measures that many organizations put in place to protect the personal information of their clients or customers, sensitive information may still fall prey to hackers and other kinds of breaches.

In the November 25, 2020 edition of  The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote, “Data Breach Cases: An Analysis of Standing and Best Causes of Action.

Despite the rules and security measures that many organizations put in place to protect the personal information of their clients or customers, sensitive information may still fall prey to hackers and other kinds of breaches. Those affected may seek counsel to aid in bringing suit to hold an entity liable for its intermediary role when a third party commits a data breach.. While data breaches have become too common, case law and statutory law governing redress for data breaches is limited. This column explores standing and potential causes of action in data breach suits.

Org-Chart-1024x576In June, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted an appeal that could radically alter existing state law on corporate liability based on the veil-piercing theory. The case, arising from a dram shop tort action, is poised to test Pennsylvania law’s “strong presumption” against piercing the corporate veil.

In the November 5, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “Pa. Supreme Court to Review Veil-Piercing Appeal Based on Enterprise Theory.

In June, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted an appeal that could radically alter existing state law on corporate liability based on the veil-piercing theory. The case, arising from a dram shop tort action, is poised to test Pennsylvania law’s “strong presumption” against piercing the corporate veil. Hoping to recover damages from an affiliated corporation that was not a defendant at trial, the plaintiff in Mortimer v. McCool, was granted an appeal on the basis of the so-called “single business enterprise” or “single entity” theory. See Mortimer v. McCool, Nos. 20 MAL 2020, (Pa. June 22, 2020). Not currently adopted in Pennsylvania, the theory may be applied to allow a plaintiff to reach the assets of one or more affiliated corporations of the debtor when those “corporations share common ownership and are, in reality, operating as a corporate combine.” See Miners v. Alpine Equipment, 722 A.2d 691,695 (Pa. Super. 1998). Courts discussing or adopting the enterprise theory have found its rightful target to be corporate entities that have integrated business ownership and assets to achieve a common business purpose. Thus, in an important sense, by operating what is essentially a “single business enterprise” split into multiple affiliated entities (often purely for the sake of avoiding liability), owners of such enterprises open the door for the courts to impose shared liability. In the past, I have written about veil-piercing in Pennsylvania generally, as well as in specific regard to LLCs and the “alter ego” theory. This column addresses the implications of the Mortimer appeal and the “enterprise” theory for Pennsylvania corporate liability law.

The courts have, in turn, opened their ears (and maybe their hearts, too) to the plight of American businesses that have suffered on a truly historic scale.

Drawing of business meeting, participants wearing masks
In the October 15, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “Business-Interruption Claims in the COVID-19 Era: Litigators Find Hope.

While the coronavirus itself may be novel, business interruption insurance lawsuits are not. Accordingly, in the initial wave of lawsuits arising from the pandemic, both business owners and courts throughout the country seemed trapped in a fixed mindset about this new type of case. Reeling from loss and damage, business owners assumed that since their businesses had been interrupted by COVID-19, their claims had merit. Courts, meanwhile, reading insurance policies narrowly, dismissed claims related to the virus for lack of tangible alteration to business property. In recent months, however, litigators have embraced more creative arguments to persuade the courts to hear their cases. The courts have, in turn, opened their ears (and maybe their hearts, too) to the plight of American businesses that have suffered on a truly historic scale.

Clipboard and Chart overlay on modern buildingPiercing the veil of limited liability companies (LLCs) allows a court to disregard the separate corporate personality of the company and its member(s) to reach the assets of the members and hold them liable for all or part of the LLC’s debts under Pennsylvania law.

In the September 3, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “Piercing the Corporate Veil of LLCs Under Pennsylvania Law.

Piercing the veil of limited liability companies (LLCs) allows a court to disregard the separate corporate personality of the company and its member(s) to reach the assets of the members and hold them liable for all or part of the LLC’s debts under Pennsylvania law. Previously, I’ve written on the general substantive and procedural requirements of piercing the corporate veil of an entity and alter ego jurisdiction over corporate groups. This column addresses the Pennsylvania law on the doctrine of piercing the corporate veil as applied to LLCs.

Diverse group of business people with arms foldedA recent decision out of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan underscored the RICO “proximate cause” inquiry highlighting yet another, often overlooked, complexity in litigating such cases.

In the July 23, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “Civil RICO and Proximate Cause: A Tool for Defendants and Challenge for Plaintiffs.

In March 2018, I authored a column on civil RICO claims brought under 18 U.S.C. Section 1962(a) and (b). In that space, I explained the complexity of those sections within RICO cases. A recent decision out of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan underscored the RICO “proximate cause” inquiry highlighting yet another, often overlooked, complexity in litigating such cases.

Laptop with various paper coming out of itWhile it is likely that businesses will think to add force majeure clauses to future contracts, there is also reason to believe the specific language of these clauses could be modified. Likewise, there are other changes to be expected in post-pandemic contracts.

In the July 2, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “The Future of Business Contracts Post-COVID-19.

Recently, I authored a column on force majeure clauses. In that space, I explained how many businesses have recently been turning to force majeure clauses in their contracts for protection in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is likely that businesses will think to add force majeure clauses to future contracts, there is also reason to believe the specific language of these clauses could be modified. Likewise, there are other changes to be expected in post-pandemic contracts.

Businessman in suit on green background.When nonresident members of a corporate group, usually the parent company, should expect to be subjected to the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania courts when one of the entities, usually the subsidiary, is based or does business in the state.

In the June 18, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “Piercing the Corporate Veil of Corporate Groups to Establish Alter Ego Jurisdiction.

Last June, in this space, I authored a column about Pennsylvania law on substantive and procedural aspects of piercing the corporate veil of companies to reach the assets of their shareholders or the assets of a parent company in corporate groups. In early January 2020, I wrote a column about the development of Pennsylvania law on establishing personal jurisdiction over registered nonresident businesses since the Supreme Court’s decisions in. In this case, I address the intersection of those two related columns in cases involving corporate groups. That is, when nonresident members of a corporate group, usually the parent company, should expect to be subjected to the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania courts when one of the entities, usually the subsidiary, is based or does business in the state.

Illustration of business paperwork by Megan RexazinMany businesses have now turned to the force majeure clauses present in their contracts—invoking the idea that the COVID-19 pandemic is an unforeseeable “act of God” that has hindered the ability of parties to perform their duties as agreed.

In the May 14, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “Force Majeure During a Pandemic and Potential Contractual Disputes

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and individuals alike have struggled with following through on contracts that were agreed upon long before the novel coronavirus was even discovered, let alone foreseen as the cause of a worldwide health crisis. Many have now turned to the force majeure clauses present in their contracts—invoking the idea that the COVID-19 pandemic is an unforeseeable “act of God” that has hindered the ability of parties to perform their duties as agreed. For those who do not have such clauses present in their contracts, can the same concept be invoked in a court of law?

Magnifying glass
In the April 9, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “When to Hire Outside Lawyers to Conduct an Internal Investigation: Revisited

In early November 2019, I wrote an article about the high-profile women who had called on Comcast to conduct an internal investigation regarding the alleged widespread culture of sexual harassment within the company. I discussed this issue and the rising calls for internal investigations within many industries and companies and their importance.

Since that article was published, Comcast has not been able to leave the spotlight on this issue. If anything, the calls for an internal investigation have only grown stronger. For example, four Democratic presidential candidates (Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) called on the Democratic National Committee to make a formal demand on Comcast to perform an investigation regarding sexual misconduct before the November debate which was hosted by Comcast-owed MSNBC. Also, in November, Comcast went before the U.S. Supreme Court in an appeal of a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decision permitting a $20 billion racial discrimination suit to proceed against the company. Though the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the matter, you should keep an eye out for its decision in Comcast v. National Association of African American-Owned Media.

Back of head facing screenIn the March 19, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of Kang Haggerty wrote “Time to Reconsider Remote Depositions in the Age of COVID-19

Remote depositions allow the deposition to proceed even though the witness is not in the same room as some or all of the other participating counsel and other persons entitled to be present.

As social distancing, travel limitations and working from home have become the norm due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), lawyers should give renewed consideration to conducting depositions by remote means. Remote depositions allow the deposition to proceed even though the witness is not in the same room as some or all of the other participating counsel and other persons entitled to be present.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(4) and similar state rules authorize remote depositions by stipulation of the parties or court order. Having conducted several depositions through remote means recently, including expert depositions, our firm attorneys believe the benefits of taking remote depositions far outweigh the perceived limitations. Continue reading ›

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