Articles Posted in Legal Intelligencer

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In the January 2, 2020 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang and Kandis L. Kovalsky co-authored “Five Years After ‘Daimler’: It’s All in the Specifics.

Major cases such as 2014’s Daimler AG v. Bauman have refined the requirements for, and in many senses restricted, the establishment of personal jurisdiction over parties. This goes for both the exercise of general and specific jurisdiction.

The exercise of personal jurisdiction is fundamentally connected with the constitutional right to due process. The question of whether it is fair and procedurally proper to subject a person to a forum state’s jurisdiction has been refined by the U.S. Supreme Court multiple times in the past decades, and especially in recent years. Major cases such as 2014’s Daimler AG v. Bauman have refined the requirements for, and in many senses restricted, the establishment of personal jurisdiction over parties. This goes for both the exercise of general and specific jurisdiction.

The basic notion behind general jurisdiction is that the defendant has to have, to quote directly from the well-known International Shoe v. State of Washington opinion, “continuous and systematic” affiliations with the forum state to reasonably expect that state’s jurisdiction over her, no matter the issue at stake (as opposed to specific jurisdiction, where the issue in question is the only reason one could expect to land up in another state’s court). But, what does “continuous and systematic” mean? Continue reading →

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In the November 27, 2019 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of KHF wrote “Changing Consumer Data and Protection Regulations for Companies and Their Counsel.”

Although a European regulation, the GDPR has affected American companies and, as it appears, has also begun to shape American law and policy. GDPR’s strict regulations and rules do not simply apply within the EU and the European economic area—it affects anyone who does business with a person living in those countries.

Last year, I wrote an article that discussed the implications of the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (commonly referred to as GDPR), which came into effect last May. GDPR’s goal was to create and to ensure the rights of European Union and European economic area citizens to protect their personal data. In the wake of numerous data breaches and many company’s morally gray handling of their customers’ personal data, the implementation of the GDPR gives people the chance to understand better and control the dissemination and use of their personal data. The regulation also insists upon a high level of care from any data handler so that personal information is better protected.

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In the November 7, 2019 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of KHF wrote “When to Hire Outside Lawyers to Conduct an Internal Investigation.”

The call for an internal investigation, not unique in the wake of the #MeToo movement, is not simply confined to the media and entertainment industries—although we may know more about them due to the high profile of many of those involved.

Recently, a number of high-profile female journalists associated with NBC News called for its parent company, Comcast, to begin an internal investigation to address alleged sexual harassment within the news network’s workplace. As one of the country’s most successful corporations, Comcast, based here in Philadelphia, is faced with a need duplicated by many Fortune 500 companies—hiring outside counsel to investigate an internal matter.

Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson, key figures in exposing the decades of misconduct by the late Roger Ailes, have been vocal in their support of the need for an internal investigation. In that case, Fox failed to address complaints aimed at the former chair and CEO of Fox News. The allegations detailed in Ronan Farrow’s current best seller, “Catch and Kill,” not only reveals the depth of the issues, but highlights the potential damage to the profile of a successful business. The letter signed by Kelly and Carlson reiterated claims of a “corporate culture of widespread sexual harassment and abuse.”

The call for an internal investigation, not unique in the wake of the #MeToo movement, is not simply confined to the media and entertainment industries—although we may know more about them due to the high profile of many of those involved. Continue reading →

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In the October 17, 2019 edition of The Legal Intelligencer Edward T. Kang, managing member of KHF wrote “A Piece of the Tort(e): Tortious Interference With Expectancy of Inheritance.”

While recently gaining traction in both the public eye and the legal field, the claim of tortious interference with expectancy of inheritance is actually quite old and its interpretations vary among different jurisdictions, including in Pennsylvania.

Recently, a potential client came to me with the claim that his sibling was guilty of tortious interference with expectancy of inheritance. Although I decided not to take on the client for several reasons, his correspondence brought to my attention a twist in the traditional tortious interference claim. While recently gaining traction in both the public eye and the legal field, the claim of tortious interference with expectancy of inheritance is actually quite old and its interpretations vary among different jurisdictions, including in Pennsylvania. Continue reading →

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In the September 5, 2019 edition of The Legal Intelligencer, Edward T. Kang, Managing Member of KHF wrote “‘T.M. v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ – Lessons on Standards of Evidence.”

The value of the reinstatement of T.M. v. Janssen for lawyers is that it clarifies laws about evidence, how courts determine evidence’s reliability, and general lessons on procedural law.

Last month, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reinstated a case concerning the drug Risperdal, which had initially been dismissed mid-trial in 2016. Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutical’s drug, Risperdal, is currently the subject of thousands of suits alleging that the drug directly caused gynecomastia in many young men.

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In the June 20, 2019 edition of The Legal Intelligencer, Edward Kang, Managing Member of KHF wrote “Piercing the Corporate Veil Under Pennsylvania Law.”

In its simplest form, the piercing of the corporate veil is an equitable remedy available to the creditors of corporate entities to request the court to hold their owners liable for the corporate debts. The underlying cause of action against the corporate entity could be a contract or tort action, none of which is attributable to its owners. For the creditors, the veil-piercing is desirable as their last resort to recover their damages while for the owners, it is detrimental as it exposes them to the type of liability that they wished to exonerate themselves from by forming a company in the first place. These two competing interests drive the forces behind the state laws on substantive elements and procedural requirements for veil-piercing: the more favorable the state policy is toward preserving limited liability, the harder it is under the state law for the court to disregard corporate entity, and the other way around. Pennsylvania law adopted a “strong presumption” against veil-piercing, see Stephen B. Presser, “Section 2:42.Pennsylvania, in Piercing the Corporate Veil,” (last updated July 2018).

Substantive Elements

Pennsylvania state and federal courts applying Pennsylvania law has long listed a vast set of factors that the court may consider in its decision to disregard the corporate shield, including, among others, using the corporate form as a sham to pursue fraudulent or illegal activities or to cause injustice, ignoring corporate formalities, undercapitalizing the company and exerting control to influence the corporate decisions and actions for personal interests. Continue reading →

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What happens when a dispute is between or among directors of the same company? Can the company use the attorney-client privilege to shield corporate materials, including any attorney-client privileged materials against a director?

Continue reading →

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In the April 11, 2019 edition of The Legal Intelligencer, Edward Kang, Managing Member of KHF wrote “Attorney-Client Privilege and Abuse of Privilege.”

The attorney-client privilege, the oldest evidentiary privilege known to the common law, is an exception to one of the main policies behind the paramount rule of evidence that relevant evidence is admissible at trial. In this regard, the attorney-client privilege is an obstruction to the search for the truth. The privilege protects confidential attorney-client communications made for the purposes of obtaining legal advice. While many attorney-client communications are confidential, they are not privileged unless they were made for obtaining legal advice. The attorney-client privilege is designed to facilitate free attorney-client communications without the fear of unwanted disclosure so that clients can receive competent legal advice from their lawyers. Continue reading →

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In the March 21, 2019 edition of The Legal Intelligencer, Edward Kang, Managing Member of KHF wrote “IT Security and Policy: Why All Lawyers Must Care About It.”

Several years ago, my insurance broker suggested I get cybersecurity insurance for my firm. It seemed a cybersecurity insurance policy was unnecessary, not much different from having an undercoating for a new car. That was then. Now, the benefits of having a cybersecurity insurance policy are not reasonably in dispute these days. In addition to having the security of insurance, another (and more important) benefit of getting a cybersecurity insurance policy was the requirement that I have an IT security and breach policy that deals with how to prevent a security breach and what to do if there is a security breach. While getting a cybersecurity insurance policy may still remain an option for many, having an IT security policy describing detailed procedures to protect against a cybersecurity attack (and what to do when the system is breached) is a must.

Need for Cybersecurity Measures

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In the January 24, 2019 edition of The Legal Intelligencer, Edward Kang, Managing Member of KHF wrote “US Supreme Court Settles the ‘Wholly Groundless’ Exception. Or Has It?

In a recent article I co-authored, I discussed the “wholly groundless” exception to delegation clauses under the Federal Arbitration Act, “Should an Arbitrator Determine Arbitrability Where a Claim Is ‘Wholly Groundless’?” The Legal Intelligencer (July 26, 2018). There, I discussed the circuit split on this issue and that the U.S. Supreme Court would soon decide this issue for good. And the court has.

On Jan. 8, writing for a unanimous court in his first written opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh held that the wholly groundless exception to arbitrability is inconsistent with the FAA and, therefore, no such exception exists, see Henry Schein v. Archer & White Sales, ___ S.Ct. ___, 2019 WL 122164 (Jan. 8, 2019). The court held “when the parties’ contract delegates the arbitrability question to an arbitrator, a court may not override the contract, even if the court thinks that the arbitrability claim is wholly groundless.” In concluding this, the court stated, “the act contains no ‘wholly groundless’ exception, and we may not engraft our own exceptions onto the statutory text.”