Legal Counsellor
April 2008                                          

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Welcome to LUCAS and CAVALIER, LLC

We are pleased to provide our first electronic newsletter which will replace our prior hard copy version "LEGAL COUNSELLOR".  This quarterly newsletter is designed to provide updates on recent case law/statutory developments throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  We will also provide reports concerning relevant federal law.  The wide spectrum of legal fields addressed is intended to provide an opportunity for each of our practice groups to address our diverse client base.


We welcome your thoughts and comments, as well as suggestions for additional areas of interest. Please feel free to pass this newsletter along to anyone who you think would be interested. 

Robert Cavalier,

Managing Partner

Robert CavalierMaritime Law -Uberrimae Fidei 

By: Robert Cavalier 

In the field of marine insurance, the doctrine of uberrimae fidei imposes a duty of utmost good faith and requires an insured fully and voluntarily disclose to the insurer all facts material to a calculation of the insurance risk.  The principle rests on disclosure, not solicitation in that even if the insurer does not ask the specific question, the insured must disclose material information it is in possession of.  The doctrine evolved as a result of the historic characteristics of the marine insurance industry wherein the insurer typically had access to limited information and thus the parties had to rely upon reciprocal trust, fairness and good faith.  If an insured is found to have violated this principle, the insurer can void the policy ab inito and will refund the premium.  Full Story

Matthew S. Marrone

Consumer Protection Laws and Licensed Professionals: Opposing Viewpoints and a Victory in Pennsylvania

By:  Matthew S. Marrone

In the recent case of Beyers v. Richmond, 937 A.2d 1082 (Pa. 2007), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court chose to answer a question which lower courts had struggled with for quite some time:  Should Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) apply to the practice of law?  Although the Pennsylvania Supreme Court may be the latest court to address this issue, it certainly isn’t the first.  The vast majority of states have consumer protection laws, and courts across the country have debated this same issue with regard to all classes of licensed professionals.  The split opinion (5-2) in Beyers represents the competing viewpoints advanced most often when considering this issue.  Full Story

Volume 1  Issue: 1




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Dan StrickJohn Who? - Anyone Can be a Public Figure for Defamation Purposes


By: Daniel S. Strick


Many do not know who John C. Berkery, Sr. is, but the New Jersey courts held he is a public figure in the defamation lawsuit he filed against the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Berkery v. Kinney, 936 A.2d 1010 (App. Div. 2007).  As such the heightened standard applied and he had to show by clear and convincing evidence the defendants acted with actual malice when making the alleged defamatory statements.


            Plaintiff attempted to stop the book Confessions of a Second Story Man: Junior Kripplebauer and the K & A Gang by filing a defamation action against the book's author.  The book was about a criminal gang operating in the 1950s and early 1960s and named plaintiff as a member of the gang who participated in a number of crimes.  The Philadelphia Inquirer published two articles written by Monica Yant Kinney addressing plaintiff's attempts to stop the book from being published and plaintiff's defamation suit against the book's author. Full Story

John A. CarletonNJ Courts Strictly Enforce Notice Provisions
- Brokers Beware

By:  John A. Carleton


          A recent case reveals how New Jersey courts strictly enforce notice provisions in claims made policies and also provides an important lesson for insurance brokers to refrain from making coverage determinations. Full Story

Keith E. JohnstonPennsylvania Supreme Court requested to decide an unresolved question whether a bystander who is neither an intended user nor consumer of a product is entitled to recover personal injury damages against a product manufacturer.

By: Keith E. Johnston 

                          In Berrier v. Simplicity Manufacturing, Inc., 2008 WL 538912 (January 17, 2008) the Third Circuit Court of Appeals requested the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to decide an important and unresolved question under Pennsylvania’s products liability law whether a bystander may pursue a strict liability claim for injuries caused by a product (riding lawnmower) when the bystander is not an intended user of the product.  The certification procedure permits a federal court to request the highest state court to resolve a question of Pennsylvania law. Full Story

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