News2024-02-19T16:50:23-05:00

THE HIGHER THE STAKES, THE GREATER THE COMPLEXITY,
THE LARGER THE POWER DISPARITY / THE STRONGER WE SHINE.

Firm News

B&L Partner, David Heim, Recognized for His Expertise

Bochetto and Lentz partner, David Heim, was included in Marquis Who’s Who, a publication that has cited noteworthy individuals in varied fields since 1899. To be included in this esteemed publication, an individual’s position, accomplishments and prominence in their field are all considered. You can find more about Marquis Who’s Who here.

Mr. Heim adds this new accolade to a long list of accomplishments that includes being recognized as a Million Dollar Advocate by the Million Dollar Advocates Forum in 2010 and as a Rising Star Top Young Attorney Award by Philadelphia Magazine between 2011 and 2014.

You can read more about this honor and Mr. Heim’s inclusion in Marquis Who’s Who in this press release.

August 25th, 2021|

B&L Partner Wins $5M Defamation Case against Dominatrix and Her Client

When a dominatrix instructs her client to defame a psychologist, who really pays the price?

In a recent whopper of a case, Bochetto and Lentz partner, David Heim, won a $5 million lawsuit, representing a local psychologist who was defamed online by the defendants, a dominatrix and her client, who paid her to give him commands as her “slave.” According to court documents, the dominatrix allegedly ordered her client to defame the psychologist, who had dated and then ended a relationship with the dominatrix years before.

The defendants had anonymously posted damaging statements online, calling the psychologist, who is also the CEO of a human resources company, a “rapist,” “alcoholic” and “drug addict.” According to the psychologist, this cost him tens of thousands of dollars in business.

Before the case went to trial, the psychologist settled with the dominatrix’s client. The dominatrix, however, was ordered to pay $5 million in damages, including $3 million to account for the harm done to the psychologist’s reputation.

For more details about this case, read the full article HERE.

May 17th, 2021|

Bochetto and Lentz Snags a Solid Victory in Non-Compete Case

The Bochetto and Lentz team recently scored a hard-fought victory for one of our clients in a case regarding a non-compete contract.

Our client, the defendant in this case, left her job with the plaintiff and began working with the plaintiff’s competitor. After discovering that their former employee had taken a job with their direct competition via a LinkedIn update on the defendant’s profile, the plaintiff sent a notice to the defendant asking her to send them proof that she had left her new position with the competitor within 14 days because her employment with the plaintiff’s competitor violated the non-compete agreement that the defendant had entered into when employed by the plaintiff.

Our team, on behalf of the defendant and the company she was now working for, filed a declaratory action on the grounds that her new employment was not applicable to the provisions in the non-compete and the non-compete was unenforceable. She also claimed that the plaintiff didn’t provide fair compensation and support while she was employed with them. In response, the plaintiff filed a complaint for breach of contract and requested that the defendant be barred from working with their competitor.

We continued to fight for our client and filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint. That motion was then granted by the court and the plaintiff’s attempts to stop the defendant from working with their competitor were denied, resulting in a victory for our client and in the case being thrown out.

As experienced litigators who have seen both sides of this kind of fight, we know what it takes to win non-compete cases. If you need to speak to an experienced attorney about this kind of issue, contact our team today.

Download Full Ruling

November 4th, 2020|

George Bochetto discusses the boarded up Columbus statue in Philadelphia with Primo Magazine

Attorney George Bochetto claims Mayor Kenney has no jurisdiction to remove the Columbus statue in Philadelphia

The attorney, a founding partner of the law firm Bochetto/Lentz, has come away convinced that Mayor Jim Kenny and the respective city arts and history commissions have no jurisdiction in the current matter. Rather, it is the City Trusts, not the mayor or city council, who must maintain the Columbus statue for public viewing. As such, the plywood boards that now hide the statue must be taken down immediately.

Read the full article at Primo Magazine.

September 11th, 2020|

Covid-19 Update

The unprecedented current climate has raised unique and challenging issues for litigation. With the widespread quarantine orders and subsequent impact on commerce, everyone needs to prepare for the resultant effects on lives and businesses.

Contractual obligations may be significantly affected by the ongoing situation, employers may be navigating the difficult landscape of protecting employees and managing business needs, and you may be wondering if your insurance policy will cover losses associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here are some basics you need to know about the legal issues associated with this pandemic and how you can prepare yourself for what’s to come.

CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS 

Covid-19 has already significantly disrupted the supply chain and service-based industries. As a result, manufacturing, shipping, commercial leases, and revenue in general have taken a hit. Many commercial agreements will be difficult, or even impossible, to adhere to in the current climate. So what are the options for parties whose agreements have been disrupted?

The legal principles of force majeure, impossibility of performance, impracticality of performance, and frustration of purpose may apply.

Force majeure is a contractual defense, applicable when the contract has a specific force majeure provision. There is no set definition of force majeure, as it must be interpreted from the contractual language. However, most of these provisions contain broad language excusing performance as a result of an “unforeseen event” outside a party’s control. Some common “unforeseen events” included in force majeure provisions are “Acts of God,” “Acts of Government,” and occasionally health crises.

This broad language is likely to cover delays in fulfilling contractual obligations, or even complete nonperformance, caused by the coronavirus because the outbreak involves an Act of God, the subsequent quarantines and shelter-in-place orders involve an Act of Government, and the WHO and the CDC have declared Covid-19 a pandemic.

The party claiming that the force majeure provision allows for delay or nonperformance must establish a causal connection between the unforeseen event and the failure to fulfill obligations. This generally requires that the party failing to comply must show that there was no alternative method to fulfill their obligations. It is not sufficient to simply claim that the unforeseen event made it difficult or more expensive – such an excuse will not justify nonperformance.

If the contract does not contain a force majeure provision it is still possible that Covid-19 will provide an excuse for nonperformance. Performance may be excused by legal principles justifying alternation of parties’ contractual terms after formation of the contract, the availability of which will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

For example, impossibility of performance occurs when the contractual duties of one or more parties cannot be fulfilled due to circumstances out of their control. This principle must be taken literally – the defense only applies when it is literally impossible to complete performance. Common examples of this defense include when a party to the contract dies or when major weather events, like tornadoes and hurricanes, prevent completion.

The defense of frustration of purpose is available when the purpose of the contract has been eroded so completely that, as both parties understood, without it, the transaction makes little sense. Courts generally limit the doctrine to instances where an unforeseeable event renders the contract valueless to one party. The event frustrating the contract’s purpose must not have been foreseeable by the nonperforming party. As with impossibility, this doctrine would not apply where performing under a contract would merely cause some degree of financial hardship.

Absent circumstances making performance impossible, the doctrine of impracticability may be available. See Restatement § 261 cmt. d. (“Performance may be impracticable because of extreme and unreasonable difficulty [or] expense…[or a] severe shortage of raw material or of supplies due to…unforeseen shutdown of major sources of supply, or the like, which either causes a marked increase in cost or prevents performance altogether.” (emphasis added). As with the defenses explained above, general inconvenience or financial hardship does not rise to the level of impracticability. Instead, this defense applies when the nonperforming party can show that an unforeseen event has caused an extreme and unreasonable difficulty in a manner that renders performance impracticable and that nothing the employer is capable of doing will allow the employer to perform.

Commercial parties have an imminent need to prepare for or against these defenses. Going forward, all contractual notice provisions should be carefully scrutinized to determine whether COVID-19 triggers any notice requirements, and contractual provisions should be drafted with these potential effects in mind.

INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR BUSINESS LOSSES

Business interruptions resulting from Covid-19 may force commercial entities to turn to their insurance provider for coverage. Typically coverage would apply if the policy includes “business interruption insurance.” You must carefully review your policy to determine which losses will be protected and to what extent.

Generally, business interruption coverage applies when the policyholder sustains “direct physical loss of or damage to” insured property by a covered cause of loss. There is no set definition for what constitutes a “physical loss,” and it will differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In the event of a claim for coronavirus-related business interruption, certain insurance carriers may dispute whether this “physical loss” requirement has been met.

However, some jurisdictions have declared that when a building is rendered “inhabitable,” though technically still intact, there was a physical loss. The determination of whether “physical loss” has occurred will require a close examination of the particular facts of each case.

EMPLOYER CONSIDERATIONS

It is certainly possible that, when Covid-19 slows down, personal injury lawsuits will arise against employers alleging that adequate precautions were not taken. It is important to carefully evaluate actions with respect to the workplace going forward.

If your workplace remains open, consider increasing safety and cleaning protocols. You may want to postpone large gatherings, encourage sanitation and disinfection by individuals, and have an emergency preparedness plan in place if any employees show symptoms of Covid-19. Careful attention must be paid to the existing standards of equal treatment and accommodation to avoid litigation connected to the issuance of Covid-19 policies in the workplace.

Finally, the pandemic has introduced a wave in cyber-crime. Encourage your employees to avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails, to use caution when opening email attachments, to refrain from sharing personal or financial information over email, and to verify the authenticity of organizations seeking donations.

These are unprecedented circumstances and the legal minefield surrounding Covid-19 may be difficult to navigate. If you need assistance,our attorneys can help. Contact us today to discuss your situation.

March 23rd, 2020|

Heim Protects Client Reputation From Online Attacks

THE HIGHER THE STAKES, THE GREATER THE COMPLEXITY,
THE LARGER THE POWER DISPARITY / THE STRONGER WE SHINE.

Firm News

Heim Protects Client Reputation From Online Attacks

Carl Hessler Jr., Main Line Media News

PHILADELPHIA — In an out-of-the-ordinary civil court battle that alleges Internet defamation, an Upper Merion stone materials company accused a West Chester competitor of posting fake customer reviews about the company on consumer websites.

Colonial Marble & Granite, West Church Road, Upper Merion, filed the defamation and false advertising suit in U.S. District Court against AAA Hellenic Marble Inc., of East Market Street, West Chester, and Nicholas Alexiadas, a Hellenic employee, and his wife, Jessica Alexiadas, of Exton.

Also listed as defendants in the suit are several John and Jane Does, unknown individuals who “collectively conspired” with AAA Hellenic and the Alexiadases “to engage in an anonymous and fraudulent advertisement campaign over the World Wide Web” designed to destroy Colonial, according to the suit.

The companies are competitors in the stone fabrication and installation industry.

Specifically, the suit alleged the defendants falsely posed as former customers of Colonial by creating fake profiles on consumer review websites and then used the sites as platforms to “spread false statements” concerning Colonial’s products and services.

The suit alleged that some of the fake customer reviews included statements such as, “Worst Service In The World” and “Do Not Shop Here! Terrible Service.”

Colonial suffered significant loss of business because of the false postings and was injured in terms of “lost reputation” and “lost earnings, revenue and income,” the suit alleged.

The suit seeks damages in excess of $150,000, plus punitive damages, which are awarded to punish defendants, to deter such conduct in the future and to set an example for others who might be tempted to engage in similar alleged conduct.

Colonial is represented by lawyers David P. Heim of the Philadelphia firm Bochetto & Lentz, and George M. Nikolaou of King of Prussia.

“Hopefully, this will send notice to anyone who posts lies on the Internet that they cannot hide behind stage names and must be held accountable for what they post,” Nikolaou, referring to the suit, said on behalf of Colonial President Nikos Papadopoulos.

Tom Gakis, owner of AAA Hellenic, referred all questions regarding the lawsuit to his lawyer, Alex Giribaldi.

“We vehemently deny that AAA has done any of the stuff that is alleged in the complaint. We believe that once we go through the discovery process it is going to show that our client, AAA, did nothing. I don’t know why he is being targeted,” Giribaldi said on behalf of Gakis and Hellenic. “My client had nothing to do with this. We are contemplating a possible lawsuit of our own but we haven’t determined yet at this point.”

Giribaldi does not represent the Alexiadases.

But Nicholas Alexiadas, who works as a manager at Hellenic, adamantly denied the allegations contained in the lawsuit.

“My wife and I didn’t have anything to do with what they are accusing us of. I never wrote anything bad about anybody,” said Nicholas Alexiadas, indicating he is consulting with lawyers for representation.

In the suit, Colonial alleged the defendants, by utilizing fake profiles, were able to conceal their true identities and make it seem to casual Internet viewers that the customer reviews were actually real Colonial customers dissatisfied with their service.

“Defendants concocted their scheme with the intent of confusing consumers about the quality of Colonial’s products, and with the intent of gaining an unfair competitive advantage in the market place,” Heim alleged in the suit on behalf of Colonial.

View story on Main Line Media News.

Awards and Badges
July 16th, 2019|

George Bochetto and Gavin Lentz have both been selected as “Top Lawyers” by Philadelphia Magazine.

THE HIGHER THE STAKES, THE GREATER THE COMPLEXITY,
THE LARGER THE POWER DISPARITY / THE STRONGER WE SHINE.

Firm News

George Bochetto and Gavin Lentz have both been selected as “Top Lawyers” by Philadelphia Magazine.

George Bochetto and Gavin Lentz have both been selected as “Super Lawyers” by Philadelphia Magazine. Gavin Lentz was selected to Super Lawyers top 100 list of the best lawyers in Philadelphia for 2012.

Awards and Badges
July 16th, 2019|

Bochetto & Lentz files suit for severance payments against former lawfirm Wolf Block

THE HIGHER THE STAKES, THE GREATER THE COMPLEXITY,
THE LARGER THE POWER DISPARITY / THE STRONGER WE SHINE.

Firm News

Awards and Badges
July 16th, 2019|
Awards and Badges
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