Rawle’s Reports

Rawle’s Reports, March 2019: Cheng To promoted to partnership

NEW PARTNER

Rawle & Henderson LLP is pleased to announce that Cheng I. To was promoted to partner effective January 1, 2019.

Cheng To represents businesses and individuals in complex litigation matters. She has handled premises liability, construction defect, dram shop, motor vehicle, transportation, catastrophic injury and death matters in the state and federal courts and alternative dispute forums.  She works with each client to provide comprehensive, responsive and realistic advice about the benefits and risks of navigating through litigation and to develop cost-effective and appropriate strategies for each case.

Cheng holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College and a J.D. from Temple University School of Law.  While in law school, she was a member of the Moot Court Appellate Advocacy Honor Society and was a legal intern with the Montgomery County District Attorneys’ Office and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), respectively.  After graduation, she served as a Judicial Clerk to the Honorable Joseph E. Kane of the Atlantic County Superior Court, Civil Division.

Cheng is admitted to practice in the state courts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania and the United States District Court of New Jersey. Cheng is a graduate of the selective TIPS/ABOTA National Trial Academy held at the National Judicial College.  Cheng is a Certified Philadelphia Arbitrator.  She also is fluent in Chinese (Cantonese).

Cheng can be reached directly at (215) 575-4295 • cto@rawle.com

PHILADELPHIA

Anisha S. Abraham has joined the Philadelphia office of Rawle & Henderson LLP as Of Counsel to the Firm. Anisha concentrates her law practice in the areas of environmental, mass and toxic torts. She has over 10 years of experience handling asbestos matters. She served as assistant to national coordinating counsel and oversaw the management of hundreds of cases from inception to trial across the U.S. as well as serving as local counsel in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Anisha has served as second chair at jury trials and participated in jury selection and arbitration. She has successfully conducted bench trials and made oral arguments before the court.

In addition, Anisha has practiced in the areas of general liability defense, construction litigation, premises liability, product liability, employment law and workers’ compensation.

Anisha earned her J.D. from the Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware, in 2006. She earned her M.A. in Clinical Counseling Psychology, cum laude, from LaSalle University in 2001 and her B.A. from Villanova University in 1998.

She is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and also the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. Prior to joining Rawle & Henderson LLP, Anisha was an attorney in the Philadelphia office of a midsize litigation defense law firm.

Anisha can be reached directly at: (215) 575-4287 • aabraham@rawle.com

WEST VIRGINIA

Matthew G. Chapman has joined the West Virginia office of Rawle & Henderson LLP as an associate. He focuses his law practice on environmental, mass and toxic torts, product liability, construction, insurance coverage and employment relations.

Matthew earned his J.D. from West Virginia University College of Law in 2010. While attending law school, he was inducted into the Order of the Barrister and served as President of the Lugar Trial Association. He was active in the Public Interest Advocates and the Student Bar Association. Upon graduation, he served as a law clerk for Judge O. C. “Hobby” Spaulding in Putnam County.

He earned his B.A. in Political Science, magna cum laude, from West Virginia University in 2006. He was an Academic Certificate of Achievement Recipient and a Mortar Board Honorary Senior. He received a West Virginia University Academic Promise scholarship and a Chilton scholarship.

Matthew is admitted to practice in West Virginia and Ohio, and also the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

Matthew was selected as a West Virginia Rising Star by Super Lawyers in 2018 and 2019. Prior to joining Rawle & Henderson LLP, he was an attorney with a civil litigation defense law firm in Wheeling, West Virginia.

Matthew can be reached directly at (304) 238-5380 • mchapman@rawle.com

PENNSYLVANIA: WORKERS' COMPENSATION
Favorable Order from Commonwealth Ct. of PA on
extra-territorial jurisdiction issue in WC case


by Zachary M. Rubinich

Rawle & Henderson LLP obtained a favorable Opinion and Order from the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania on January 18, 2019, holding that a Claimant’s employment, at the time of his injury, was not principally localized in Pennsylvania, and therefore, Claimant’s injury was not compensable under Section 305.2(a)(1) of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.  Zachary M. Rubinich, a partner in the Firm’s Philadelphia office, represented the employer in this matter.

The Commonwealth Court denied Claimant’s Petition for Review and affirmed the Decision of the Workers’ Compensation Judge and Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (WCAB). During the appellate litigation, the key issue was whether Claimant’s employment was principally localized in Pennsylvania where Claimant worked exclusively at and was injured at employer’s Delaware facility.

Claimant testified, presented evidence and argued that he had an ongoing employment relationship for employer in Pennsylvania based upon spending a substantial part of his working time in the service of the employer in Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth Court rejected this legal argument.

Instead, the Court relied upon testimony from two employer fact witnesses who explained that Claimant was hired in Delaware, his job was performed exclusively in Delaware, Employer has a distinct job site in Delaware, Claimant was required to take pre-employment drug screening test in Delaware, Claimant submitted to a background check in Delaware, Claimant participated in Delaware site-specific trainings and orientation, was paid a Delaware trade wage rate, worked a limited project in Delaware and would be laid off at end of the project.

Importantly, the Commonwealth Court found that Claimant worked solely in Delaware at the time of his injury and noted the temporary nature of the job to determine there was no continuous employment relationship. The Commonwealth Court concluded that the evidence of record and credible testimony of employer’s fact witnesses supported a determination that at the time of injury, Claimant worked exclusively in Delaware and that no ongoing relationship existed between Claimant and Employer such that Pennsylvania lacked jurisdiction over Claimant’s workers’ compensation claim under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.

So, the Court affirmed the Workers’ Compensation Judge and WCAB’s denial and dismissal of the Claim Petition and Penalty Petition filed by Claimant.

This holding by the Commonwealth Court is significant because it confirms that the focus of Section 305.2 of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act is on the Claimant’s employment, not on the employer, to determine if employment was principally localized in Pennsylvania.

Zachary M. Rubinich focuses his practice on the defense of insurance carriers, self-insured entities and third-party administrators against workers’ compensation claims in Pennsylvania. Based on his extensive experience, the Pennsylvania Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Law Section has certified him as Specialist in the practice of workers’ compensation law. Zach has handled all aspects of litigation before workers’ compensation judges, the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board, the Commonwealth Court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  He routinely counsels employers, insurance carriers and third party administrators on claims management, workplace safety, return-to-work programs, employment practices and risk management. Zach has been appointed the Chair of the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice (TIPS) Workers’ Compensation and Employers’ Liability Law Committee for 2018-2019. He served as Vice-Chair of the ABA TIPS Workers’ Compensation and Employers’ Liability Law Committee for 2015-2016, 2016-2017 and 2017-2018.  In addition, Zach was appointed as Vice-Chair of the 2017-2018 American Bar Association Standing Committee for Diversity and Inclusion. Zach has been rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell for the seventh consecutive year in 2019. He has been selected as a 2019 Pennsylvania Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers. He was selected as a Pennsylvania Rising Star by Super Lawyers from 2010 to 2014.

Zach can be reached directly at (215) 575-4340 • zrubinich@rawle.com
 

BREAST CANCER RESEARCH

Patrice S. O’Brien recently participated in the evaluation of research applications submitted to the Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) sponsored by the Department of Defense. Patrice was nominated for participation in the program by Susan G. Komen Philadelphia. As a consumer reviewer, she was a full voting member, along with prominent scientists, at meetings to help determine how the $130 million appropriated by Congress for Fiscal Year 2018 will be spent on future breast cancer research.  Consumer reviewers are asked to represent the collective view of patients by preparing comments on the impact of the research on issues such as diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life.

Patrice has a strong commitment to breast cancer research. For 10 years, she was the captain of Rawle & Henderson LLP’s race team for the annual Komen Philadelphia Race for the Cure, helping to raise funds to find a cure for breast cancer. Rawle & Henderson LLP raised over $78,500 for Komen Philadelphia during those 10 years.

Patrice is Of Counsel to the firm in our Philadelphia office. She has practiced as a civil trial lawyer for over 30 years in the areas of medical malpractice, products liability, catastrophic loss and premises liability in the Mid-Atlantic region. She received her undergraduate degree from Delaware Valley College, magna cum laude, in 1983, and law degree from Columbus School of Law at Catholic University in 1986. Patrice served a two-year term as co-chair of the Medical–Legal Committee of the State Civil Litigation Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Patrice can be reached directly at: (215) 575-4222 • pobrien@rawle.com