Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Deed Drafting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them - RPPT Section's Spring Retreat

Save the Date!  Frank Kosir, Jr. of Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP and Erin Fagnilli of Fidelity Title will be presenting a CLE Seminar on "Deed Drafting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them" at the RPPT Section's Spring Retreat being held May 8-9, 2013 in Pittsburgh, PA.  Additional information on this program will be announced at a later date.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Day on Real Estate PBI Seminar - Monday, March 18, 2013

The Pennsylvania Bar Association will be holding a seminar, "A Day on Real Estate," on Monday, March 18, 2013. 

Meyer, Unkovic & Scott attorney Frank Kosir, Jr. will be speaking at this seminar from 9:00 am - 10:00 am.  Frank's topic is "The Year in Review." 

The seminar will take place at the PBI Professional Development Conference Center, Heinz 57 Center, 7th Floor, 339 Sixth Avenue, Pittsburgh.  You can register by clicking on the following link:

Monday, February 18, 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

Health Care Reform Seminar - February 12, 2013

Free Seminar - Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Are you an employer with close to 50 full-time employees?
Are you an employer with over 50 full-time employees?

The impact to your company will be determined by the number of full-time equivalent employees you have at your company. The penalties could range from $2000 to $3000 per employee under the "pay or play" mandate.

Please join us as we review the upcoming impact of health care reform on businesses.

The government has issued proposed regulations along with questions and answers regarding which employers are subject to the "pay or play" mandate. These proposed regulations and additional guidance will develop rules for who is a full-time employee. Employers will be permitted to use periods in 2013 to determine whether an employer is subject to the "pay or play" mandate. You need to know which employees will be considered full-time employees for the "pay or play" mandate.

Learn now how to comply with the guidelines so you can determine the impact of health care reform on your business in 2014 and how to address the changes with your employees.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Registration & Hot Breakfast 8:30 am - 9:00 am Program 9:00 am - 10:30 am

Seminar Location - Rivers Club
301 Grant Street | One Oxford Centre, Suite 411 | Pittsburgh, PA 15219

RSVP by Friday, February 8th
This seminar will be hosted by Joseph A. Vater, Jr. and Jason Mettley.
Joseph A. Vater, Jr., Esquire
Since 1976, Mr. Vater has been involved in Commercial and Employment Litigation. Mr. Vater's labor and employee benefits litigation has included the defense of age, race, and sex discrimination claims, as well as litigation involving claims for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty under ERISA. He has practiced in both the state and federal courts, as well as before state and federal agencies with jurisdiction over employment law and employee benefit issues. Mr. Vater has also litigated cases before arbitrators involving withdrawal liability under the Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act.
Jason Mettley, Esquire

Jason Mettley represents employee benefit plans in all matters, including plan design and drafting, fiduciary responsibility, plan governance, and contributions collections. Mr. Mettley has litigated a broad array of ERISA cases, representing both plans and individuals. He has extensive experience working with employers and labor organizations on collectively bargained plans.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Untimely Filed Complaints

Frank Kosir, Jr., Esquire
Bebee v. Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, 2012 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 316 (2012)

This matter addressed the issue of whether the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission had the authority to dismiss a complaint alleging predatory and discriminatory lending practices as untimely filed, where the party against whom the allegations were made failed to file a timely response.  In 2007, Phyllis Bebee (“Bebee”) refinanced a residential mortgage (the “Mortgage”) with First Franklin Financial Corporation (“First Franklin”).  The Mortgage was subsequently assigned on several occasions, and was held at different times by Merrill Lynch First Franklin Mortgage Loan Trust, LaSalle Bank National Association, Bank of America, and U.S. Bank, N.A.  On April 21, 2009, U.S. Bank, N.A. commenced a foreclosure action against Bebee in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas due to her default under the Mortgage. 
Following the filing of the foreclosure complaint, Bebee filed a complaint before the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (the “Commission”) against Bank of America, alleging that she had been the victim of mortgage fraud.  Specifically, Bebee contended that at the time of refinance, her monthly income had been overstated by approximately two hundred percent, and that she had not been advised of the amount her monthly mortgage payment would increase. Bebee also alleged racial and age discrimination.  Bank of America failed to file a timely response, and a judgment was entered against it as to liability.  After a subsequent hearing was held to determine damages, the Commission hearing officer dismissed Bebee’s complaint concluding, inter alia, that it was untimely filed, and that since Bank of America was nothing more than an assignee under the Mortgage, Bebee could not assert claims against it for actions that were allegedly undertaken by the original mortgagee.
On appeal, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed.  In issuing its ruling, the court noted that 43 P.S. § 959 permits the Commission to dismiss any action brought before it at any point prior to the entry of final judgment, if it concludes that the action was untimely filed.  Therefore, as 43 P.S. § 959(j) requires a complaint alleging unlawful discrimination to be filed within one hundred and eighty (180) days of the alleged discriminatory act–and Bebee did not assert her cause of action for more than two years after the alleged predatory and discriminatory conduct had occurred–the Commission was within its rights to dismiss her complaint, despite the fact that Bank of America had failed to file a timely response.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Defective Promissory Note?

Frank Kosir, Jr., Esquire
Graystone Bank v Grove Estates, LP, et. al, 2012 PA Super 274, 2012 Pa. Super. LEXIS 4090 (2012)

This matter addressed the issue of whether a confession of judgment clause set forth in a promissory note was defective where the promisor’s signature did not appear on the same page of the document.  On August 29, 2008, Grove Estates LP (the “Promisor”) executed a Promissory Note (the “Note”) in the principal amount of Nine Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($9,500,000) in favor Graystone Bank (the“Bank”).  The terms of the Note required the Promisor to make monthly interest payments, and to make full payment of the principal on September 1, 2010.  The Note also included a confession of judgment clause acknowledged by the Promisor.  However, due to the spacing of the document, the confession of judgment clause was located at the bottom of one page of the document, and the Promisor’s signature was located at the top of the subsequent page.  
The parties subsequently entered into a Change in Terms Agreement, extending the September 1, 2010 maturity date to November 5, 2010.  When the Promisor failed to make the required payment at the maturity date, the Bank confessed judgment against it in the amount of $10,650,027.74; which judgment amount included the principal balance, interest, attorney’s fees and late charges.  The Promisor immediately filed a Petition to Open and/or Strike the Confessed Judgment asserting, inter alia, that the Note was defective, as the confessed judgment clause was not located on the same page as the Promisor’s signature and that attorney’s fees asserted were excessive.  Following discovery and hearing, the trial court dismissed the petition and affirmed to validity of the confessed judgment.
On appeal, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed in part and reversed in part.  With regard to the form of the Note, the court concluded that Pennsylvania law does not require that a confession of judgment provision be located on the same page as the signature of the promisor.  Rather, the only requirements for an enforceable confessed judgment clause are that the provision be set forth in conspicuous type, and be signed or initialed by the promisor.  In this instance, there was no question that the confession of judgment clause was set forth in conspicuous type, or that the Promisor had in fact acknowledged the clause by signing its name immediately thereafter.  As such, the fact that the Promisor’s signature was located at the top of the next page of the Note was insufficient to render the confession of judgment clause unenforceable.  However, with regard to the amount of attorney’s fees set forth in the confessed judgment, the court reversed, noting that Pennsylvania law requires that fee shifting provisions be reasonable.  In this instance, the terms of the Note provided that the attorney’s fees due on confession of judgment were to equal ten percent (10%) of the outstanding principal, which amounted to more that Nine Hundred Thousand Dollars ($900,000).  As the record did not indicate whether the trial court had conducted a review to determine if the amount of attorney’s fees was reasonable in light of the costs actually incurred by the Bank in confessing judgment under the Note, the issue of attorney’s fees had to be remanded to the trial court for a determination of reasonableness and, if necessary, the modification of the attorney’s fees due.