Photo of Aaron S. Marines

For weeks, associations, municipalities, children’s day camps and public swimming pool organizations have been trying to decide if they could open summer recreation facilities such as pools, parks and playgrounds.  The state has only recently released directions on how to open businesses, like construction, in a socially distant way.

Going into the Memorial Day

Beginning on May 1, 2020, Pennsylvania will allow businesses that are involved in construction to open. These construction businesses must follow state guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Reopening construction will allow some workers to return to their jobs and some people to move into their new homes.  

However, just because Pennsylvania construction

In the past few weeks, we have looked at many of the economic stimulus and consumer protection parts of the CARES Act. A minor section in the Act has also corrected the “Retail Glitch” of 2018’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). This correction will now allow business owners to depreciate improvements and equipment –

**UPDATE 5/9/2020**  Governor Wolf ordered all foreclosures and evictions delayed until July 10, 2020.  If a mortgage company, landlord or manufactured home park owner has already sent out the required paperwork to start a foreclosure or eviction (Act 6 or 91 Notice, Notice to Quit, MHCRA Notice, etc.), they have to start all of the

The CARES Act makes several changes to how people can use their retirement accounts during the coronavirus crisis – in particular, how they can use their retirement distributions. These provisions are another way to help people through the financial strain of this year.

Distributions from Retirement Plans

The CARES Act allows retirement distributions from an

Attorneys at Russell, Krafft & Gruber took part in the Community Wellness Expo at the Hempfield Rec Center on March 8.  Attorneys Lindsay Schoeneberger, Kathy Krafft Miller and Kim Carter Paterson provided information and answered questions about Wills, Estate Planning, Financial Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives and Powers of Attorney.  Health Care Directives and Powers of Attorney are an important but often overlooked part of health planning.  Everyone, regardless of their age or their current health status, should have a plan for what happens if things go wrong.  Even though it is unpleasant to talk about, it is much more unpleasant to have an emergency with no plan in place.
Continue Reading Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP takes part in the Hempfield Community Wellness Expo

The first thing on everyone’s mind right now is the health and safety of our family, friends and neighbors.  But as the quarantines and restrictions increase with the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19, businesses will start to be hurt as well.  At some point, every business needs to know how coronavirus will affect their contracts.  Are you going to get refunds for the things you already paid for?  Are your construction contracts going to cost more because of delay?

The answer is:  It depends.

If we want to predict the impact of coronavirus on business agreements, we have to read the agreements.  They can treat the situation in a number of different ways.  Many agreements have a force majeure or “act of God” provision. Maybe the contract calls these events “unavoidable casualties” or “events beyond the control of the parties.”  The point is that different contracts may treat these situations differently.  Let’s look at some examples:
Continue Reading How Does Coronavirus Affect Your Contracts?

Lancaster County has a lot of multi-generational family businesses. You’ve probably seen countless articles like this one highlighting the “tsunami of change.” And if you’ve taken the time to read any of these articles, you’ve learned that the businesses that flourish in the second or third (or later) generations are successful largely because of the way they planned for the future. These succession plans have a number of things in common.

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash


Continue Reading Lessons Learned from Business Transition Planning

This is a classic story of a divided association Board. Two Board Members think one way while the third Board Member disagrees. In this case, the two new Board Members made some criticisms of prior Boards. The single Board Member, who happened to be the Board President, was on the previous Boards being complained about. This is (unfortunately) not a unique story. The twist in this case is that the solo Board Member filed a defamation suit against the Association. I have had lots of people related to Associations – Board Members, property managers, contractors – ask me about defamation or libel law suits. This is one of the few times I have seen a case make it to Court.

The solo Board Member claimed that the other two Board Members made defamatory statements about him. He alleged that the statements lowered his esteem and reputation among the Board Members and the vendors who work with or for the Association. He said that the two Board Members’ statements caused people in the neighborhood not to associate with him and to “discount his authority as a Board Member.” 
Continue Reading Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Publically Criticizing My Actions as President of the Executive Board Will Never Hurt Me

The Right to Farm Act protects farmers from being sued by their neighbors.  The RTFA says that a person cannot sue an agricultural operation for a nuisance arising out of a normal agricultural operation more than one year after the operation started or was substantially expanded or altered.  This one year limitation is a “statute of repose.”  That means that neighbors have no more than one year to bring a complaint, even if an injury or problem occurred after the year expired.  A recent case (Burlingame, et al. v. Dagostin) provided another victory for farmers.

In this case, a group of neighbors complained when a farmer began spreading liquefied swine manure (LSM) from its finishing operation onto their farm.  When I say “group of neighbors” I mean a big group.  I counted 83 Plaintiffs in the caption.  The Dagostins operated Will-O-Bet Farm since 1955.  In 2011, they switched from a beef farm to a swine finishing operation.  They received their CAFO permit and nutrient management plan approval in 2012.  They began spreading LSM in June 2013.  In May of 2014, a large group of the neighbors brought a suit for nuisance because of the odors of the manure.  Both the Trial Court and the Superior Court held that the Right to Farm Act did not allow neighbors to bring this action because the action was started more than one year after the agricultural operation started.
Continue Reading Nuisance Claims Against Farmer Dismissed by Right to Farm Act