Curtin & Heefner Partner Robert Szwajkos Elected to serve as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Bucks County Credit Counseling Center

Robert Szwajkos, a Partner at Curtin & Heefner LLP in its Commercial Services Department, and a former Clerk, U.S. Bankruptcy Court (EDPA), has been elected to serve as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Bucks County Credit Counseling Center. The Bucks County Credit Counseling Center, an award winning non-profit service sponsored by regional banking and professional organizations, at its offices in Levittown, Doylestown, and Richboro, has provided confidential credit counseling services since 1994. During 2018, the Center assisted 4,230 clients with budget and debt management, credit report review, financial fitness and student loan counseling, first time homebuyer education, foreclosure prevention, financing options, and bankruptcy counseling. Curtin & Heefner has provided over 80 years of value-added service. The firm’s storied history ranges from the U.S. Congress to local governments, from the area’s emerging businesses to some
of the nation’s largest corporations, banks and insurers. The firm is prominently ranked among the top 100 in size in Pennsylvania, and its attorneys are widely recognized as among the best in the nation, providing creative problem solving, thoughtful counseling, aggressive advocacy, and the highest ethical standards. That rich history and versatility form the foundation from which Curtin & Heefner adds value today … and to which it is committed into the future.

Three Eastburn and Gray Attorneys Succeed in Exclusionary Zoning Challenge on Behalf of Real Estate Developer Client

Blue Bell and Doylestown, PAJohn A. VanLuvanee, Julie L. Von Spreckelsen and Zachary A. Sivertsen successfully represented The Verrichia Company (“Verrichia”) on an exclusionary zoning challenge related to a commercial real estate development project in Plumstead Township, Bucks County. The Court’s decision to sustain the challenge is significant because it recognizes “retail stores with fuel dispensing facilities” as a distinct and legitimate land use; invalidating Plumstead Township’s zoning ordinance as exclusionary.

 

Senior Judge Robert J. Shenkin of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, issued an order sustaining a substantive validity challenge, filed on behalf of Verrichia, to the Plumstead Township Zoning Ordinance.  Judge Shenkin ruled that a retail store selling motor vehicle fuels was a legitimate business that could not be completely excluded from the Township. The Township Zoning Ordinance permitted a gasoline service station use with up to 2,000 square feet of retail sales space.  However, Judge Shenkin found that the proposed convenience store with motor vehicle fuel sales was an entirely different, legitimate business from the use permitted by the Ordinance. Judge Shenkin noted that the Township restrictions on gasoline sales were not limited to convenience stores but effectively prohibited any retail store of any size, including supermarkets and wholesale club stores, from selling motor vehicle fuels.

 

In his order, Judge Shenkin ruled that Verrichia was “entitled to site-specific relief” permitting it to develop its proposed convenience store at the intersection of Swamp Road and Ferry Road in Fountainville, just west of Doylestown with fueling stations in accordance with the plans that were submitted to the Township’s Zoning Hearing Board.

 

Commenting on Judge Shenkin’s ruling, Ms. Von Spreckelsen noted that “the decision marks one of the first instances of Pennsylvania courts recognizing that motor vehicle fuels are a product now widely sold by retail stores of all sizes and that the sale of fuel in conjunction with a retail store is a legitimate and distinct use that cannot be completely excluded from a municipality.”

 

Mr. VanLuvanee handles zoning, subdivision and land development matters, as well as real estate transactional matters, for both developers and property owners. His clients include national builders and developers, as well as many regional and local builders and developers.

 

Ms. Von Spreckelsen has been representing commercial and residential real estate developers, businesses, individuals, and distinguished institutional clients in real estate law, including zoning, subdivision, land development and municipal-related matters for more than 15 years. She frequently represents clients in front of municipal bodies and state courts throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

 

Mr. Sivertsen practices land use and zoning, real estate, litigation, construction, and municipal law at Eastburn and Gray. He has appeared on behalf of clients before zoning hearing boards, municipal governing bodies, courts of common pleas, and the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court in land development matters, applications for zoning variances, and zoning appeals.

 

##

 

The tradition of excellence at the law firm of Eastburn and Gray, P.C. began more than 140 years ago and continues today. With law offices in Doylestown, Bucks County and Blue Bell, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, our experienced attorneys provide high quality legal services throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  As a full service firm, Eastburn and Gray attorneys practice in diverse areas of the law, effectively meeting the needs of the firm’s clients.

 

To learn more about our firm, our practice areas and our attorneys, please visit our website: www.eastburngray.com.

Erin K. Aronson, Esq. Coordinates 2018-2019 Mock Trial Program

Doylestown, PA – Eastburn and Gray attorney Erin K. Aronson, Esq. served as the coordinator of the 2018-2019 Pennsylvania Bar Association/Young Lawyers’ Division Mock Trial Competition for Bucks County. The competition featured 17 teams and resulted in a win for Central Bucks High School South, who will move on to compete in the regional phase of the competition.

This county-wide, annual competition is organized by the Young Lawyers’ Division (YLD) of the Bucks County Bar Association (BCBA) as part of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) statewide competition. Locally, BCBA members generously give their time and expertise to serve as team advisors, jurors, bailiffs, and coordinators, while the esteemed judges from the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas and Magisterial District Courts throughout the County preside over each hearing. One of the largest in the nation, the PBA/YLD Mock Trial Competition gives more than 300 high school student teams from across the state the opportunity to act as lawyers and witnesses in simulated civil and criminal trials before actual judges and panels of juries. Each year, the winning team goes on to represent Pennsylvania in the national competition.

Ms. Aronson currently serves as Chair Elect of the Young Lawyer’s Division (YLD) of the BCBA. She practices in the areas of Real Estate, Labor and Employment and Education at Eastburn and Gray, PC. She earned her law degree, cum laude, from Villanova University School of Law in Villanova, Pennsylvania, where she was Managing Editor of Symposia for Villanova Law Review. Prior to practicing law, Ms. Aronson’s career focused on public service in both state government and politics.

 

##

 

The tradition of excellence at the law firm of Eastburn and Gray, P.C. began more than 140 years ago and continues today. With law offices in Doylestown, Bucks County and Blue Bell, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, our experienced attorneys provide high quality legal services throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  As a full service firm, Eastburn and Gray attorneys practice in diverse areas of the law, effectively meeting the needs of the firm’s clients.

 

To learn more about our firm, our practice areas and our attorneys, please visit our website: www.eastburngray.com.

Kellie A. McGowan, Esq. to Speak at Real Estate Seminar in Philadelphia

Doylestown, PA – Kellie A. McGowan, Esq. will serve as faculty at a PBI Real Estate seminar on Thursday, March 14, 2019 in Philadelphia, PA.

Ms. McGowan is one of three faculty to participate in this real estate seminar entitled Key Mistakes to Avoid with Residential Agreements of Sale, to be held at the PBI Philadelphia conference center and simulcast in multiple Pennsylvania locations.  The panel will focus on 2019 revisions to the PAR form residential agreement, and discuss key issues often encountered in practice.

Ms. McGowan is a shareholder in the Real Estate, Land Use and Zoning, and Banking practice groups at Eastburn and Gray, PC.  She represents clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey in residential and commercial real estate matters. She also represents clients in zoning, land development and general land use matters. She has frequently served as a faculty member for various educational seminars in Pennsylvania.

To learn more about this seminar, including registration information, please visit www.pbi.org.

##

The tradition of excellence at the law firm of Eastburn and Gray, P.C. began more than 140 years ago and continues today. With law offices in Doylestown, Bucks County and Blue Bell, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, our experienced attorneys provide high quality legal services throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  As a full service firm, Eastburn and Gray attorneys practice in diverse areas of the law, effectively meeting the needs of the firm’s clients.

To learn more about our firm, our practice areas and our attorneys, please visit our website: www.eastburngray.com.

Curtin & Heefner Partner Samuel Totaro Receives The Ursinus College Alumni Award for Service to Humanity

Samuel C. Totaro, Jr. has been chosen to receive the Ursinus College Alumni Award for Service to Humanity.

This award pays tribute for time volunteered for the benefit of a community or non-profit institution.

Totaro, a Partner with Curtin & Heefner is best known for his accomplishments in the field of adoption law and related adoption litigation. He has participated in over 4,000 adoptions of children, representing adoptive parents, birth parents and adoption agencies.

Totaro was lead counsel in Gibbs vs. Ernst, a 1994 PA Supreme Court case which established the rights of adoptive parents to be compensated for failure of adoption agencies to fully disclose all relevant and material information in its possession to the adoptive parents prior to adoption. This
case has been cited by over 20 Supreme Courts in other states as controlling law.

He has appeared in media, including Good Morning America, The Today Show and Anderson Cooper Live. In fact, one of Sam’s adoption cases was made into a CBS Sunday Night Movie of the Week, called A Father for Brittany, and continues to be shown on the Lifetime Channel.

Totaro is Past President of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and has served on the Board of Trustees of the National Council for Adoption in Washington, D.C. and the Board of Trustees of both the Bucks County Bar Association and the Bucks County Bar Foundation. He is a Past President of the Richboro and Churchville Rotary Clubs.

He has also served for two decades as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Silver Springs/Martin Luther School, a residential treatment facility and school for emotionally disadvantaged children in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania.

Totaro has received the Bucks County Bar Association’s Mark E. Goldberg Award for Community Service and the United States Congressional Angel in Adoption Award.

Congratulations Sam!

THE UNITED STATES District COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA ANNOUNCES NEW SCHEDULE FOR ATTORNEY ADMISSIONS TO EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA

THE UNITED STATES District COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA ANNOUNCES NEW SCHEDULE FOR ATTORNEY ADMISSIONS TO EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA

 PHILADELPHIA, PA– Chief Judge Juan R. Sánchez announces that the Eastern District of Pennsylvania will conduct attorney admissions ceremonies on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. in Courtroom 5-A in the Philadelphia Byrne Courthouse. In the event the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is closed or a federal holiday falls on a Thursday, the next attorney admission ceremony will take place the following Thursday.  Applicants and sponsors should report to the Clerk’s Office on the second floor of the Byrne Courthouse by 10:00 a.m.

This is a change from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s past practice of scheduling attorney admissions weekly with different times, days of the week, and courtrooms.  Chief Judge Sánchez stated, “Bar associations and attorneys have been asking the EDPA to conduct attorney admissions at a set time and day of the week.  The EDPA is pleased to accommodate this request for the convenience of applicants and their sponsors.”

Renowned Montgomery County Judge Joins King of Prussia-Based Law Firm Mannion Prior

(February 28, 2019) Mannion Prior, LLP, a trust and estate litigation firm headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, is delighted to announce that the Honorable Stanley R. Ott (Ret.) joins the firm in an Of Counsel role.

Mannion Prior’s focuses its practice on trust and estate litigation across Pennsylvania in the Orphans’ Court Division. The firm has successfully represented clients in seminal trust and estate matters for nearly twenty years.

In 2018, Judge Ott retired as a Senior Judge in Montgomery County – the 38th Judicial District – after 31 years of experience on the bench. Judge Ott’s decisions are highly regarded throughout Pennsylvania’s legal community and are often referenced by Orphans’ Court practitioners and estate and trust planners.

Judge Ott has issued over 200 published opinions including leading decisions on the rights of alleged incapacitated persons, trustee and executor fees, the mental capacity necessary to execute estate planning documents, and the fiduciary duties of trustees. Notably, it was Judge Ott’s 2004 ruling that allowed the Barnes Foundation to move from Merion to its current home in Philadelphia.

James Mannion, Founder and Managing Partner of Mannion Prior shares, “As the author of hundreds of opinions, many of which are cases of first impression, Judge Ott has been one of the greatest influences on estate and trust law of our time. I’m thrilled that Judge Ott is joining Mannion Prior and will be sharing his talents with our clients and with others through mediation and arbitration.”

Mannion Prior Partner Karl Prior states that “the timing of Judge Ott joining us is ideal, as our firm expands into mediation. His affable manner, deep knowledge of trust and estate law and judicial temperament are ideally suited to helping clients avoid the expense and loss of privacy that accompany public litigation.”

Judge Ott will spearhead the development of Mannion Prior’s mediation and arbitration practice, engage in select trust and estate consultations and counsel, and expert witness engagements.

He will be available for clients beginning March 1.

###

About the Honorable Stanley R. Ott

Judge Ott served as a Common Pleas Judge in the 38th Judicial District in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania since 1988. In 1994, he became Administrative Judge of the Orphans’ Court Division. In 2016, he assumed Senior Judge status until his retirement at the end of 2018. Two hundred of his written opinions have been published in the Fiduciary Reporter.

Judge Ott taught the Orphans’ Court practice course at the Court of Common Pleas Judicial School – for newly elected judges – from 2014-2018. Additionally, he served as a leader among his fellow judges as the Chair of the Orphans’ Court Section of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges from 1998 to 2006, and as a judicial representative to the Joint State Government commission’s working group on guardianships in 2006-2007.

Judge Ott remains a frequent lecturer for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, where he served as Director from 2003-2008. He served as adjunct faculty at both Temple and Villanova Law Schools, where he taught Trial Advocacy. He is currently a member of the Joint State Government Commission’s Advisory Committee on Decedents’ Estates Laws and he serves on the Orphans’ Court Procedural Rules Committee. He graduated from Lafayette College and the Cornell Law School.

About Mannion Prior, LLP

Mannion Prior, LLP is a fiduciary litigation boutique. Since its founding in 2001, the firm has established itself as a leading force in will contests, trust and trustee litigation, fee and commission disputes, estate litigation, and guardianship and incapacity proceedings. Led by partners James F. Mannion and Karl Prior, the firm pursues, defends, and counsels on issues involving the standards of care applicable to fiduciaries such as trustees, executors, guardians, charitable organizations, banks, trust companies, partners, attorneys, and officers and directors of corporations. Mannion Prior is a U.S. News and World Report Best Law Firm. Learn more at www.mannionprior.com.

Jordan Yeager Tops Endorsements for Common Pleas Judge by Bucks County Democratic Committee

March 4, 2019, Doylestown, PA—The Bucks County Democratic Committee has overwhelmingly endorsed Jordan Yeager for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County. The Committee, which is the authorized body of the Democratic Party in Bucks County, held its endorsement meeting Saturday at Klinger Middle School in Upper Southampton, PA.
Over 91 percent of Committee members voted for Yeager on the first ballot, with 328 out of 359 members present voting for Yeager. Yeager far exceeded the 60 percent threshold for receiving the Committee’s endorsement and was the only candidate endorsed on the first ballot. The endorsement means that Democratic Committee people throughout the County will be working hard to help Jordan win in the May 21st primary election and the November general election.

“I am deeply honored to be endorsed by the Bucks County Democratic Committee. The vote shows that the Committee recognizes my experience and my lifelong dedication to fighting for fairness and justice for all,” said Yeager.

Ensuring equal rights and justice for all is a main pillar of Yeager’s campaign and a hallmark of 26 years of experience fighting to protect the Constitution’s guaranteed freedoms. Yeager’s 2013 landmark victory in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was the first case in history declaring a state law unconstitutional because it violated the environmental rights of Pennsylvanians.

PAUL R. SHEEHAN JOINS HILL WALLACK LLP AS COUNSEL IN THE TRIAL AND INSURANCE PRACTICE GROUP

MARCH 4, 2019, YARDLEY, PA–Hill Wallack LLP is pleased to announce the arrival of Paul R. Sheehan as Counsel in the firm’s Trial and Insurance Group.  Sheehan, who formerly practiced at Avolio & Hanlon, P.C. in Lawrenceville, N.J., has worked on numerous diverse litigation matters, as well as matters in real estate, business contracts, family law and intellectual property, and will bring his broad-based practice to Hill Wallack. Based in both the Yardley, PA office of Hill Wallack, he will work with clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and beyond.

Prior to his law firm work, Sheehan, a trained artist, was associate director for nine years of Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, a non-profit organization serving artists, authors, and cultural organizations.

“Hill Wallack’s great presence on both sides of the state line will be a boon to my existing clients, and help me to further develop my practice,” said Sheehan.  “I look forward to putting my litigation skills to work for existing and incoming clients throughout the region.”

We’re delighted to have Paul join our growing practice,” said Michael Kahme, Hill Wallack LLP’s Managing Partner. “He’s a fine litigator, and he will be a great asset in handling litigation and other matters out of both Princeton and Yardley.”

Sheehan earned his J.D. from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law in 2003, and edited the Temple International and Comparative Law Journal while there. He clerked for Judge Eduardo C. Robreno in the summer of 2002 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Sheehan earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1991, and Master of Fine Arts at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in 1994.

He is an Approved Arbitrator of New Jersey Superior Court’s Civil Division (Commercial), and was a member of the Mercer County American Inn of Court from 2009 to 2017.

An active volunteer, he is Chairman of the Board of Chandler Hall Health Services in Newtown, Pa., a residential and healthcare community serving older adults in the Quaker tradition, offering services such as independent living, skilled nursing, and memory care.  He coaches youth softball with the Lower Bucks Lady Lions.

 

About Hill Wallack LLP

Founded in 1978, Hill Wallack LLP is a leading full service law firm with offices in Yardley, Pa., and Princeton, Cedar Knolls and Red Bank, N.J. Our regional strength places us in an ideal position in today’s market. With nearly 70 attorneys, our mid-market size allows us to provide sophisticated, high-level service to clients in a cost-efficient, responsive manner. Our attorneys represent individuals and entities in banking, community associations, creditors’ rights, employment & labor law, family law, insurance, land use, litigation and real estate. For more information, please visit www.hillwallack.com.

Grace M. Deon, Esq. Named Highest Recommended Candidate for Judicial Seat

Doylestown, PA – According to members of the Bucks County Bar Association (“BCBA”), Grace M. Deon, Esq. was the highest recommended candidate for a judicial seat on the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County.

 

The purpose of the BCBA Merit Selection Committee is to inform and educate the public and the press about the judicial races in Bucks County. Judicial candidates were asked to complete a questionnaire and were invited to participate in a live interview at the BCBA. After these two events, members of the BCBA were asked to evaluate each of the ten judicial candidates.

 

The results of the survey are available here: https://www.bucksbar.org/latest-news/press-release-2019-bucks-county-bar-association-judicial-plebiscite/.

 

“I am honored and humbled that the BCBA membership who returned ballots ranked me as “Highly Recommended” more than any of the other nine candidates reviewed,” said Ms. Deon. “These results validate that my peers recognize and endorse the importance of a candidate who has extensive experience, integrity, competence and civility in the practice of law.”

 

Ms. Deon is a shareholder and member of Eastburn and Gray’s management committee and has practiced law for 27 years. Her practice focuses on Employment, Commercial and Special Education litigation. She previously served as the President of the BCBA. She has resided in Bucks County for 42 years, and for more than three decades, she has actively participated as a board member and fundraiser for numerous non-profit agencies throughout Bucks County.

 

##

 

The tradition of excellence at the law firm of Eastburn and Gray, P.C. began more than 140 years ago and continues today. With law offices in Doylestown, Bucks County and Blue Bell, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, our experienced attorneys provide high quality legal services throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  As a full service firm, Eastburn and Gray attorneys practice in diverse areas of the law, effectively meeting the needs of the firm’s clients.

 

To learn more about our firm, our practice areas and our attorneys, please visit our website: www.eastburngray.com.