Monday, July 11, 2005

Contempt of Court

There is an extensive discussion of

-- civil v. criminal contempt, and
-- indirect v. direct criminal contempt

in Commonwealth v. McMullen -- Pa. Superior Court July 6, 2005

Donald Marritz
MidPenn Legal Services

Consumer protection - Insurance - "churning" scheme - damages - attorney fees

Agliori, Executrix v. Metropolitan Life Insurance - Pa. Superior Court, July 8, 2005

Held, appellant's decedent suffered ascertainable loss under consumer protection law, even though he got what he paid for under one insurance policy. Agent lied to him and failed to present full facts, so decedent was not able to make informed decision. Agent convinced decedent to replace existing insurance policies with a new one (churning), so agent could get higher commissions and admin. fees, without full notificationof negative aspect of such transactions.

Court stressed "deterrence function of the statute" and that it should be liberally construed to effect its remedial goals of eradicating and protecting the public from unfair or deceptive business practices. Determination of damages should be decided in that context.

Attorney fees disallowed for work done prior to statutory amendment allowing such fees.

Don Marritz
MidPenn Legal Services