GOVERNOR WOLF SIGNS LAW THE REVISED UNIFORM ARBITRATION ACT (RUAA) BRINGING MAJOR CHANGES TO ARBITRATION IN PA EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2019

The PA Uniform Arbitration Act (RAA) has been renamed, revamped and modernized. If you are drafting arbitration clauses in contracts, you will need to know these important changes.

The new law, Revised Uniform Arbitration Act (RUAA) not only codifies arbitrability, it eliminates common law arbitration for agreements executed on or after July 1, 2019. A definition of terms section absent from the RAA promotes uniformity and the RUAA provides more details on how to initiate an arbitration, thoroughly explains notice and explains enforceability and modification.

For a detailed summary of the RUAA and a side-by-side comparison with the RAA, please click on the linked document below. We welcome any questions you may have regarding these important changes.

2018 SUMMARY OF THE REVISED UNIFORM ARBITRATION ACT

 

Authored by Catherine S. Straggas, Esquire and Emily Heimbecker, Law Clerk, Villanova Law School, Class of 2019.

 

 

Philadelphia Partner Catherine Straggas and Pittsburgh Associate Emily Mahler obtained a defense verdict at trial on an high exposure age and race discrimination lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Plaintiff’s former employer, a large public housing agency. Following the court’s grant of summary judgment resulting in the dismissal of plaintiff’s retaliation and disparate treatment claims, Plaintiff’s remaining claim that he was subjected to a hostile work environment on the basis of his age and race was permitted to proceed to a jury trial. Plaintiff, a 54 year old African American man who worked for his employer as a painter for 16 years, alleged his 68 year old African American supervisor had singled him out because of his age and race hoping to replace him with someone younger. Plaintiff alleged his supervisor constantly made inappropriate comments, assigned him work that was less desirable and more difficult than work assigned to White male painters and that the Agency did not respond to Plaintiff’s complaints of discrimination despite his reports to its Human Resources Department. Prior to trial, Catherine and Emily prevailed on several key motions in limine which significantly limited the claims and damages that Plaintiff could seek at trial. No offers to settle were made in response to several six figure demands. Following a four day trial, the jury announced a verdict in favor of our clients on all remaining claims shortly after closing arguments.

A manager employed by the Philadelphia Housing Authority for over 12 years alleged she was discharged from employment due to her race and national origin. Plaintiff sought damages totaling $300,000 for lost wages, compensatory damages and punitive damages. In June 2014, following oral argument presented by Emily Mahler, the District Court granted our client’s Motion for Summary Judgment, concluding the plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case of race discrimination where the evidence adduced did not establish a discriminatory motive. In April, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the lower court ruling rejecting the Plaintiff’s attempt to establish a prima facie case through alleged evidence that the asserted reasons for discharge were pretextual, noting that accepting such evidence as establishing a prima facie case would “upend McDonnell Douglas’ burden-shifting framework.”  The Court further held that even assuming plaintiff could establish that the proffered reasons for discharge were pretextual, further evidence of racial bias was necessary to establish that the real reason for discharge was discriminatory.

Philadelphia partner Catherine Straggas and Associate Emily Mahler obtained summary judgment resulting in the dismissal of a race and national origin discrimination suit filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against a Commonwealth agency in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Plaintiff alleged discrimination in her employment with and termination from the agency on the basis of her race and national origin in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 1981, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. Plaintiff claimed between six and seven figures in damages including back pay, front pay, compensatory damages, and punitive damages. Following extensive discovery, briefing and oral argument, summary judgment was granted in favor of our client and against Plaintiff on all counts.

Philadelphia partner Catherine Straggas and Associate Emily Mahler prevailed, in part, on a motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s claims pursuant to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 and 1985(3) in a race and age discrimination suit filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against a Commonwealth agency in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Plaintiff alleged that the agency refused to hire Plaintiff as a result of his age and/or race. The Court accepted our client’s position that Plaintiff had failed to plead facts necessary to support the 1983 and 1985(3) claims, and further dismissed Plaintiff’s ADEA and Title VII claims against our clients’ individual representatives as a matter of law.

Philadelphia partner Catherine Straggas, Esquire received a defense verdict after a 5 day trial in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County.  Catherine represented a national sports/entertainment venue and international entertainment production company against an alleged failure to warn patrons a snake would be part of the performance.  Plaintiff sustained a trimalleolar fractured ankle after a friend, with a snake phobia, ran into her.  Plaintiff underwent two surgeries to repair her fractured ankle and claimed she was incapacitated for 6 months after the accident.

Catherine S. Straggas, Esquire
Margolis Edelstein
601 Walnut Street
4th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106
p (215) 931-5835
f  (215) 922-1772
cstraggas@margolisedelstein.com “””