Category: News

Businesses that obtained Paycheck Protection (“PPP”) Act refundable loans above $2 million may soon find themselves in the unenviable position of defending themselves against potential federal criminal prosecution.

The Small Business Administration, which administered the PPP, quietly submitted “Loan Necessity Questionnaires”, including a “liquidity assessment”, to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for approval in late October. The forms demand very specific financial data about access to funds at the time the loan was made, to allow “SBA loan reviewers to evaluate the good-faith certification that (the Borrower) made on (its) PPP Borrower Application (SBA Form 2483 or Lender’s equivalent form) that economic uncertainty made the loan request necessary”.

The new questions even ask about such normally confidential business matters as revenue declines and shutdowns of the business by government order (in connection with the Pandemic). In addition, PPP recipients must describe their spending to control the spread of COVID-19, and even capital spending plans.

The draft form also asks the PPP borrower to identify for each question whether a response is “customarily kept confidential”.  However, that designation now appears moot, after the SBA was ordered to reveal all details of its major stimulus loan programs by a federal judge, including specific borrowers and loan amounts.  https://bankingjournal.aba.com/2020/11/court-orders-disclosure-of-all-ppp-eidl-loan-recipients-by-nov-19/

Although the SBA has not yet posted the forms itself (presumably pending OMB approval), you can easily find both versions of the form (3509 for for-profit firms, and 3510 for nonprofits) by searching the internet by the form numbers.

In addition, draft versions of the 9 page forms mentioned in the Federal Register notice about them (https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-10-26/pdf/2020-23594.pdf) are now available on the news site www.politico.com, at https://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000175-7c07-d665-a1ff-fe0fd5390000.

A tax site also provides a lengthy description of the forms.  (https://www.currentfederaltaxdevelopments.com/blog/2020/10/31/sba-announces-will-create-questionnaire-to-determine-need-for-ppp-loans-purported-copies-being-circulated-online)

Although the SBA has not announced its rationale for requiring this form – nor does it have to – the “fund now, ask questions later” strategy of the initial PPP rollout likely provides an explanation.  https://www.sgrvlaw.com/the-paycheck-protection-program-what-a-long-strange-trip-its-been/

To inject cash into the economy at the start of the shutdown, quickly, the SBA simply required borrowers to certify that the “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant”.  No further justification – or financial data – was required.

In my experience, small businesses accustomed to providing extensive financial information to bank lenders were skeptical about getting significant funding without comparable documentation.  It now seems that they were correct – the request was just delayed.

Unfortunately, the ease of applying for PPP funding led to many well publicized abuses by recipients, which likely explains the new forms.  However, one study found such potentially fraudulent loans represented only 0.01 percent of all PPP funding.  https://cepr.net/new-york-times-reports-that-0-01-percent-of-the-paycheck-protection-program-was-fraudulently-spent/

Formally, the SBA will issue requests for the new forms to lenders who submit forgiveness applications – suggesting another reason for borrowers to consider delaying a forgiveness application.

Despite the uncertainty about this enforcement effort, the detailed accounting questions on the draft forms provide a roadmap for planning your defense now with your CPA, before the prosecutor calls – especially since a response will be due just ten days after you receive the request for the form.

  • Assemble information on how the PPP funds were used, particularly for preserve jobs.
  • Document your expenses and other sources of cash, if any, at the time you applied for the PPP loan.

Since no specifics are yet available about this program – it was discovered only through the request for approval of the “necessity” certification  forms – monitoring online sources remains the best way to stay current (as it has been throughout all the Pandemic relief programs).

Unfortunately, the latest PPP twist confirms the old adage (and small business common sense), “There’s no such thing as free money”.

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SGRV has been selected by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® to the 2021 list of  “Best Law Firms.”  SGRV received a metropolitan tier ranking for Employment Law – Individuals; Litigation – Labor & Employment; and Environmental Law.

Firms included in the 2021 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must first have a lawyer recognized in The Best Lawyers in America©, which recognizes 5% of lawyers practicing in the United States. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

“U.S. News has more than three decades of experience evaluating key institutions in society and their service to consumers,” said Tim Smart, executive editor at U.S. News. “Law firms perform a vital role, and ranking them is a key extension of our overall mission to help individuals and companies alike make important decisions.”

The 2021 rankings are based on the highest lawyer and firm participation on record, incorporating 8.3 million evaluations of more than 110,000 individual leading lawyers from more than 22,000 firms.

“For the 2021 ‘Best Law Firms’ publication, the evaluation process has remained just as rigorous and discerning as it did when we first started 11 years ago.” says Phil Greer, CEO of Best Lawyers. “This year we reviewed 15,587 law firms throughout the United States – across 75 national practice areas – and a total of 2,179 firms received a national law firm ranking. We are proud that the ‘Best Law Firms’ rankings continue to act as an indicator of excellence throughout the legal industry.”

Ranked firms, presented in three tiers, are recognized on a national and regional-based scale. Firms that received a tier designation reflect the highest level of respect a firm can earn among other leading lawyers and clients from the same communities and practice areas.

Awards were given in 75 national practice areas and 127 metropolitan practice areas. Additionally, one “Law Firm of the Year” was named in each nationally-ranked practice area.

National and metropolitan tier 1 rankings will be featured in the physical edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms”, which will be distributed to more than 30,000 in-house counsel.

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in the field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. To be eligible for a 2021 ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer recognized in the 26th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America list for that particular location and specialty.

U.S. News & World Report is the global leader in quality rankings that empower people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. A digital news and information company focused on Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars and Civic, USNews.com provides consumer advice, rankings and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected lawyer ranking service in the world. For almost 40 years, Best Lawyers has assisted those in need of legal services to identify the lawyers best qualified to represent them in distant jurisdictions or unfamiliar specialties. Best Lawyers rankings are published in leading local, regional, and national publications across the globe.

Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci PC has represented clients nationally and internationally for 45 years and provides counsel and expertise across the entire spectrum of legal practice, from complex litigation to sophisticated transactional and corporate matters.  The firm has offices in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Florida, New York and Atlanta.

The firm represents businesses, corporate boards, and highly placed individuals.  Its clients are engaged in a variety of industries including finance and banking, manufacturing, hospitality, gaming and entertainment, real estate and commercial development, insurance and venture capital, energy, financial services, health care, security and telecommunications.

The firm’s practice areas include high stakes litigation, business disputes, commercial litigation, professional liability, products liability, securities, trust and estates, fiduciary litigation, bankruptcy and creditors rights, civil RICO, trade secrets, trademark and restrictive covenants, intellectual property, antitrust, white-collar criminal defense, banking and financial services, corporate formation and governance, cyber risk and security, employment, entertainment and amusements, environment and energy, wealth management, healthcare, hospitality, insurance coverage and insured casualty litigation, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, real estate, sports and tax law.

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In these troubled times, this seems like a not unreasonable statement and it is oft-expressed. Particularly when some heartless retailers charged Pennsylvania sales tax on face masks and other personal protective equipment that INNOCENT and VIRTUOUS CITIZENS acquired to protect THEMSELVES and OTHERS, truly ALL OTHERS, in this pandemic. And so, consistent with the sentiment above, SUE THE BASTARDS!!

Which is what has happened: Garcia v. American Eagle Outfitters Inc. et al., recently filed in the Court of Common Pleas for Allegheny County.

Garcia is not a tax case, strictly speaking. It was brought as a class action under the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (the “UTPCPL”). The claim is that the retail sellers of face masks and other PPE should have known that these items were (or had been declared) exempt from the sales tax (the substantive quality of this premise will be considered below), and thus when they charged sales tax, they engaged in activity prohibited by the UTPCPL. Recoverable damages under the UTPCPL include $100 per violation (which may be trebled in extreme cases) and attorneys’ fees.

The UTPCPL specifies twenty acts defined as unfair trade practices. They all fall in the category of false, deceptive, misleading, or intentionally confusing claims. None of the specified acts can be reasonably be stretched to cover a retailer that overcharges sales tac. However, the UTPCPL has a catch-all prohibition of “any other fraudulent or deceptive conduct which creates likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding.

At this point, I, a mere tax lawyer, have a little trouble completing a summary of the plaintiff’s claims that would begin “In other words…” I would think that the false, misleading, deceptive or confusing statements, in order to be actionable under the UTPCPL, would have to create some unfair advantage to the seller, to make a sale more likely than would have been the case had the consumer been fully and fairly informed. The argument has to be that the seller, knowing that sales tac was being overcharged, mislead the consumer by concealing this fact and thus made the sale more likely than if the consumer had been aware of the overcharging. But I still have trouble in figuring out what’s in it for the retailor carrying out this deception. I assume that the retailor, having collected the sales tax, simply paid it over to the Department of Revenue in the ordinary course, if not the retailor has a world of trouble with the department, and we would be talking about a run-of—the-mill, grimy sales tax case. Surely, the retailor is marginally better off being truthful if the items are exempt from the sales tac, since the total price to the consumer would be less and thus the sale should be marginally more likely.

What interests me, as a tax lawyer, is looking at it from the point of view of the duties that are imposed upon the “taxpayer” and how the law is administered. In the case of the sales tax, I had to put taxpayer in quotes because the consumer is the taxpayer, but all of his duties are imposed on the retailer. That’s where the action is. The retailor has to collect the tax, account for it and report to the Commonwealth, and pay the collected taxes over to the Department of Revenue. A misstep, mistake. Or intentional malfeasance with respect to any of this results in the retailor (and perhaps its owners and others personally) being responsible for the tax, penalties, interest, possible loss of its sales tax license, banishment to outer darkness.

From the point of view of the consumer, the taxpayer, the sales tac is pretty simple. The consumer may have some vague understanding that certain purchases are sales tax exempt, but in general, the consumer simply has to pay the price for the desired goods.

From the point of view of the retailor, the tax collector, the sales tax can be mindlessly complicated. There are hundreds of published sales tac cases in Pennsylvania law books, and few if any deal with the consumer. They deal with the collector.

The sales tax applies to tens of millions of transactions in Pennsylvania annually. In the vast majority, it is easy to.  Identify the transaction as a “sale at retail” (which is the legal incidence of sales tax) and the only complication is whether only the state-level 6% rate applies, or there is an additional county-level tax. But when we get to exclusions it can get tricky. To navigate this trickiness, we obviously have to delve into what the law (in its grand generality) provides, and we have to determine what we mean by “the law” This may risk getting a little boring at times, you really were not expecting a civics lesson, but stick with me. I will try to keep it interesting, after all, if we are going to concede that the Government can impose duties on its citizens, we ought to be able to determine pretty clearly how, with reference.

Consider: Did the plaintiffs sue the department to recover the sales tax? Nah, $100 per violation, maybe trebled, plus attorneys’ fees, is more than a couple of bucks of sales tac (and good luck trying to get the tax back. From the Department, by the way) Did the plaintiffs sue the Department for failing to issue guidance that it arguably could have done? Nah, Did the plaintiffs sue the Governor for issuing a vague executive order, or failing to issue one at all? Nah.

But I’m just a tax lawyer.

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Alan B. Epstein, Chair of the Employment Law Group of Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci P.C., has been selected as one of the 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers by Lawdragon™ in its 2020 list of the nation’s best plaintiff employment attorneys.

Epstein has been selected for this honor for the past three years. The 500 honorees are chosen in Lawdragon™’s research-driven, journalistic process that vets the views of peers and competitors, and recognizes large wins.  Practitioners who were recognized have been securing positive results for workers for 10 years to more than 50 years.  Epstein was one of only 8 Philadelphia lawyers chosen for the distinction.

Epstein concentrates his practice in civil litigation representation in the areas of employment rights, civil rights and constitutional torts and the provision of transactional advice in all areas of corporate governance, including personalized advice to corporate officers, boards and board members regarding adherence to state and federal regulations. He is frequently called upon to provide transactional advice to, negotiate employment contracts and severance agreements on behalf of, and litigate matters for, corporate entities, corporate officers and directors, and licensed professionals (and their entities), including lawyers, doctors, bankers, accountants, pharmacists and architects, as well as insurance, real estate and security brokers.

Epstein has litigated complex claims before courts throughout the United States and has been admitted to practice in cases pending before numerous state and federal trial and appellate courts and administrative agencies in Pennsylvania, California, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington as well as the United States Supreme Court. He is a frequent lecturer in his areas of concentration across the United States, and has served as an expert witness in state and federal courts regarding employment law and the professional and ethical responsibilities of lawyers.

He is a Fellow in the prestigious international College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and has served on its Board of Governors as an officer (Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President and then President) since 2011. He continues to serve on the College’s Board as its Past President.  He holds an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell™, has been named as one of the Best Lawyers in America™ in the publication of that name for more than 10 years, and has been awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Philadelphia’s The Legal Intelligencer and Marquis Who’s Who.  He has been named a top 100 Superlawyer™ in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania and has also been selected as one of the nation’s 500 Leading Lawyers (2010), Top 500 Plaintiff’s Lawyers (2009), and Top 500 Litigators (2006) by Lawdragon™.   He has served as a volunteer mentor and Panel Coordinator for the Employment Litigation Panel of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and as a national leader and Inn President in the American Inns of Court movement.

In the context of significant litigation in the employment law area, Epstein is well known for his participation in high-profile litigation for individuals and corporate entities (including his representation of a young, HIV-positive attorney against a prestigious Philadelphia law firm that received national attention because of the daily televising of the trial by Court TV and CNN and the award-winning film “Philadelphia” starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington) and for his frequent representation of local and national sports figures, broadcast personalities, and officers and directors of large national corporations.

Epstein was also the founder and President/CEO of JUDICATE, The National Private Court System, a publicly held company coordinating private dispute resolution services through approximately 700 former judges throughout the United States and its territories. In the area of alternative dispute resolution, he has additionally lectured and served as a mediator and arbitrator by private appointment and through certification by state and federal courts.

Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci PC has represented clients nationally and internationally for 45 years and provides counsel and expertise across the entire spectrum of legal practice, from complex litigation to sophisticated transactional and corporate matters.  The firm has offices in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Florida, New York and Atlanta.

The firm represents businesses, corporate boards, and highly placed individuals.  Its clients are engaged in a variety of industries including finance and banking, manufacturing, hospitality, gaming and entertainment, real estate and commercial development, insurance and venture capital, energy, financial services, health care, security and telecommunications.

The firm’s practice areas include high stakes litigation, business disputes, commercial litigation, professional liability, products liability, securities, trust and estates, fiduciary litigation, bankruptcy and creditors rights, civil RICO, trade secrets, trademark and restrictive covenants, intellectual property, antitrust, white-collar criminal defense, banking and financial services, corporate formation and governance, cyber risk and security, employment, entertainment and amusements, environment and energy, wealth management, healthcare, hospitality, insurance coverage and insured casualty litigation, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, real estate, sports and tax law.

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A coalition of business groups and local politicians faced down Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s aggressive COVID-19 rules – and won.

In Butler v. Wolf, federal judge William Stickman blocked many restrictions imposed on Pennsylvania businesses early in the pandemic to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

But not all of them – the severe capacity limits on restaurants, for example, remain in force. Although those challenging the rules were businesses harmed by their effect, the court did not rely upon the rules’ practical impact. Instead, it relied heavily upon prior case law, and complex legal analysis. Not surprisingly Governor Wolf immediately appealed – and the federal appeals court immediately halted (for now) the effect of Judge Stickman’s original ruling.

“There’s no sense debating a ruling that will be appealed — two of three federal judges upheld what we did. But what’s not up for debate is that our early and decisive action saved lives.”

Unfortunately for the business opponents of Wolf’s aggressive limits on the state’s economy, the appeal will likely succeed, in the view of constitutional law scholars. Both a case cited by the Butler court, and the judicial philosophy of the ruling, were considered out of date when I studied constitutional law – 40 years ago. In fact, the cases reaching that result date from the 1930’s, and predate the New Deal era governmental intervention in the economy that we take for granted today.

(In the short run, however, Judge Stickman denied the stay almost immediately because of what he viewed as a lack of evidence justifying the need for restrictions on gatherings, and the inconsistency of their application to different types of events.)

Nonetheless, the far-reaching ruling 6 months into the crisis raises many questions, not only practical ones for both businesses and their customers, but also legal issues that could quickly undermine the ruling.

  • Why does this matter now, since many of the restrictions have already been relaxed? The court highlighted that Wolf’s rules have only been “suspended”, not rescinded.
  • Should a court even get involved in the middle of a public health emergency? The court answered that it had to protect constitutional rights.

Formally, the court ruled that public health concerns do not get “judicial deference” six months into the crisis, especially when many businesses were permitted to remain open even under Wolf’s stringent rules, notwithstanding the health concerns.

  • Were the state’s unilateral decisions on which businesses were “life-sustaining” – and therefore allowed to remain open, even when similar or nearby firm were not – arbitrary? The court agreed, applying constitutional principles of equal protection and due process.
  • Will ruling affect Philadelphia’s own strong rules? Not for now – the plaintiffs were all from western PA, and did not challenge Philadelphia’s rules.

So should businesses go back to the ways things were before the crisis?

Certainly not.

At a practical level, the virus is still here. I don’t think the virus has read Judge Stickman’s opinion yet – and would not care about it even if a virus could read. Its sole purpose is to infect another cell, to propagate itself. While many mitigation efforts have helped, Pennsylvanians are still becoming infected and dying – including a clergyman I greatly admired. More importantly, both the CDC and many local governments have issued safety rules, which remain in effect, independently of limits on the state’s rules.

In addition, the CDC acknowledges that it is constantly learning about the virus and its risks. Today’s recommendations and prohibitions may be different by tomorrow. In fact, there have been so many new rules concerning COVID-19 that professional advisors with whom I speak agree that it has been difficult to keep up with all of them.

One thing hasn’t changed, however – the economic effect of the virus. Many businesses may never return, especially in sectors most affected by safety concerns, such as hotels, or restaurants.

Just as occurred in March, at the start of the crisis, Congress is considering significant stimulus relief. After spending trillions to avoid a crash earlier this year, no one wants to slip backward for want of another few billion here or there. Of course, election year politics and other pressing virus related issues have complicated closing the next stimulus deal – unemployment benefits, liability protection for businesses and schools that reopen, and blanket PPP forgiveness, among others.

So our next steps in Pennsylvania will resemble what we have all done for the last six months – watching each day for glimmers of hope in the latest news.

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Have you read the Small Business Administration’s latest revision of the rules for its Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) yet? If not, that’s OK – the rules just changed again.

I am exaggerating, but not by much.  At times, rules were issued and revised on almost a daily basis. Major changes occurred in the night, or over weekends. But was that any way to spend $659 billion – one of the largest economic programs in our history? Congress certainly didn’t plan to save the economy on an ad hoc basis, when it first began to act in April. Similarly, many states’ planned on closings measured in weeks – over six months ago. But as job losses kept rising, Congress was ready to try anything that might work – and to change when it the economy continued to sputter.

For example, the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act in early June fixed some of the problems that arose in the early funding, particularly requirements to rehire employees – even though many businesses were closed by government order. But giving money away wasn’t easy. In just six months, 24 separate PPP “interim” final rules were announced, according to a lenders’ trade group.  https://www.naggl.org/resource/resmgr/ppp/IFR_Chart.docx

Of course, the PPP wasn’t the only effort to spend our way out of the problems.  So many federal, state and local relief efforts were approved that it became difficult to keep up with all of them. So what have 5,212,128 approved PPP loans, totalling $525,012,201,124 bought us?

(The data is through the program close on August 8, 2020, according to the SBA’s PPP dashboard.  https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program.)

Not much, apparently. But Congress worked so much that the legislators needed a vacation. As a result, President Trump reacted by to bypassing Congress with Executive Orders of questionable legal legality to try to fix some of the problems, and avoid further economic meltdown. But across the nation, businesses remain closed.

One respected political journal proclaimed, “The Paycheck Protection Program Was a Flop”.  (https://slate.com/business/2020/07/paycheck-protection-program-was-a-flop.html)

At the same time, PPP fraud became a stumbling block to further relief.  “Paycheck Protection Fraud Is Massive and Unsurprising”, as massive fraud became apparent in loans to ineligible borrowers, or without any job preservation.  (www.forbes.com/sites/peterjreilly/2020/08/29/paycheck-protection-fraud-is-massive-and-unsurprising/#7dfbb8ac4df6)

Despite their pain, larger businesses ignored significant relief programs, particularly the Main Street Lending program perceived to be expensive and onerous. Schools that tried to reopen have switched to online learning – with all of the problems it presents for students from families without reliable internet access, or for those with disabilities. On a positive note, the national unemployment rate climbed fell from a high of 14.7% in April, to 8.4% in August, perhaps as a result of the PPP largesse.

Continuing its frenetic pace, Congress will likely consider another massive relief bill when it returns from its recess. However, further aid must overcome political disputes over key provisions:

  • Maintaining increased unemployment benefits that ended in late July.
  • “Liability reform” to protect reopening schools and businesses against claims by both employees, students and customers who may contract the virus.
  • Restoring lost business deductions for routine expenses paid with PPP funds – causing increased taxes for businesses already hammered by the effects of the virus.
  • Another round of PPP grants and stimulus payments – they worked so well the first time, why not spend again?
  • Blanket PPP forgiveness for borrowers under $150 million (85% of all such loans), to avoid the delays and expense of manual review of millions of loans for compliance with the complex program rules.
  • Emergency relief for hospitality and transit firms, as safety concerns discourage both business and personal travelers.
  • Support for the Postal Service, critical for both Presidential voting and shopping “by mail”.

Despite all of the stops and starts since March, one thing has become absolutely clear: “man plans, the virus laughs”. Until a vaccine has been finalized and tested for safety, the virus is in control. Business and political planning can only remain a hope – contingent on the success of our public health efforts, and universal compliance with its recommendations. Clear rules will also help – conflicts between states and federal leaders’ advice don’t help to build a national consensus on how to beat the virus. We need the same unanimity our country had in times of crisis, such as World War 2, or the oil shortages of the 1970s.

With US coronavirus deaths alone approaching 200,000, our leaders, political and cultural, must now help build that consensus to restore our economy and our health. Without it, as the Grateful Dead once sang, “Ain’t it a shame?”

P.S.: While you were reading this, the PPP rules changed again.

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Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci P.C. Chairman Paul R. Rosen, Esq. will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by The Legal Intelligencer, the oldest law journal in the United States, as part of the publication’s 2020 Pennsylvania Legal Awards on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors jurists, office holders and other legal luminaries from across Pennsylvania who have left an imprint on the legal history of the state during their career.

Rosen has distinguished himself throughout his 55-year career through multiple landmark cases.

He is known for his work in the area of lender liability, beginning with a $5 million precedent-setting verdict in favor of a borrower who brought a counterclaim against its lender during a foreclosure action.  His verdict against a bank ultimately created the Lender Liability Law.

In Pennsylvania, Rosen attracted significant attention for his representation of the Commissioners of Lower Merion Township in Barnes Foundation v. Township of Lower Merion, a civil rights action; and of Bruce Marks in the Marks v. Stinson voting fraud case. He was the subject of national attention for his representation of Alycia Lane in her invasion of privacy litigation against CBS and claims of criminal unauthorized access to her private computer system involving CBS Co-Anchor, Lawrence Mendte. He waged a 10-year battle that went to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in which recusal of the entire Montgomery County Bench was at issue.

Rosen won a class action lawsuit against One Meridian Plaza after the devastating fire.  His class action suit against the union practice of tagging (using license plates in parking lots to track down potential new members) made the front page of the Wall Street Journal and changed U.S. law.  After children were allowed into the sexually explicit movie “Private Lessons,” Rosen sued BudCo Theaters to enforce their ratings, creating the PG-13 era.  He has also represented former CNN host Larry King in a First Amendment matter; former Philadelphia Eagles Coach Andy Reid and his family; and Tom Knox in the Brady challenge for mayor.  Most recently, he returned the Barbera Autoland Dealership to its founding family.

“Early on, I realized I had a talent for finding solutions to impossible problems,” Rosen recently told The Philadelphia Inquirer.  “Growing up on the multicultural streets of Camden, I had to hold my own at Camden High — not just scholastically, but in everyday living.  These life experiences gave me the grit to become a fierce advocate and problem-solver for others — and propelled me into the practice of law.”

In addition to his legal portfolio, Rosen is a champion of the arts, serving as Chairman of the Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci Foundation which provides grants to Philadelphia artists and arts organizations, and presents the ATTY Award for positive depictions of attorneys in the arts.

Rosen is intimately involved in the Philadelphia community. He is a patron of the Cancer Support Community of Greater Philadelphia; Friends of Rittenhouse Square; Pennsylvania SPCA; and numerous other civic/community and fundraising activities.

Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci LLP has represented clients nationally and internationally for 45 years and provides counsel and expertise across the entire spectrum of legal practice, from complex litigation to sophisticated transactional and corporate matters.  The firm has offices in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Florida, New York and Atlanta.

The firm represents businesses, corporate boards, and highly placed individuals.  Its clients are engaged in a variety of industries including finance and banking, manufacturing, hospitality, gaming and entertainment, real estate and commercial development, insurance and venture capital, energy, financial services, health care, security and telecommunications.

The firm’s practice areas include high stakes litigation, business disputes, commercial litigation, professional liability, products liability, securities, trust and estates, fiduciary litigation, bankruptcy and creditors rights, civil RICO, trade secrets, trademark and restrictive covenants, intellectual property, antitrust, white-collar criminal defense, banking and financial services, corporate formation and governance, cyber risk and security, employment, entertainment and amusements, environment and energy, wealth management, healthcare, hospitality, insurance coverage and insured casualty litigation, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, real estate, sports and tax law.

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Alan B. Epstein, Chair of the Employment Law Group of the Philadelphia-based law firm of Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci P.C., has been selected as a Benchmark Litigation Labor and Employment Star for 2020.   Benchmark Litigation provides analysis of commercial and financial litigators and law firms in the United States. Epstein was chosen based on factors including recent representative cases, philanthropic work, involvement in professional organizations, and work background.

Focused exclusively on the U.S. litigation market, Benchmark Litigation identifies leading U.S. attorneys and firms at the local and national levels. Rankings and editorials are based on interviews with the nation’s leading private practice lawyers and in-house counsel. Firms and individuals cannot pay to be recommended in the guide.

Epstein concentrates his practice in civil litigation representation in the areas of employment rights, civil rights, and constitutional torts and the provision of transactional advice in all areas of corporate governance, including personalized advice to corporate officers, Boards and Board Members regarding adherence to state and federal regulations.  He is frequently called upon to provide transactional advice to, negotiate employment contracts and severance agreements on behalf of, and litigate matters for corporate entities, corporate officers and Directors, and licensed professionals (and their entities), including lawyers, doctors, bankers, accountants, pharmacists, and architects, as well as insurance, real estate and security brokers.

Epstein has received a number of recent accolades. He was named in 2019 as an Influencer of Law by the Philadelphia Inquirer. He has been named a top 100 Superlawyer™ in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania and has also been selected as one of the nation’s 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers (2018), 500 Leading Lawyers (2010), Top 500 Plaintiff’s Lawyers (2009), and Top 500 Litigators (2006) by Lawdragon™. He is an active member of the National Employment Lawyers Association, and has served as a volunteer mentor and Panel Coordinator for the Employment Litigation Panel of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and as a national leader and Inn President in the American Inns of Court movement.  Epstein was most recently selected as a 2020 Pennsylvania Super Lawyer.

Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci LLP has represented clients nationally and internationally for 45 years and provides counsel and expertise across the entire spectrum of legal practice, from complex litigation to sophisticated transactional and corporate matters.  The firm has offices in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Florida, New York and Atlanta.

The firm represents businesses, corporate boards, and highly placed individuals.  Its clients are engaged in a variety of industries including finance and banking, manufacturing, hospitality, gaming and entertainment, real estate and commercial development, insurance and venture capital, energy, financial services, health care, security and telecommunications.

The firm’s practice areas include high stakes litigation, business disputes, commercial litigation, professional liability, products liability, securities, trust and estates, fiduciary litigation, bankruptcy and creditors rights, civil RICO, trade secrets, trademark and restrictive covenants, intellectual property, antitrust, white-collar criminal defense, banking and financial services, corporate formation and governance, cyber risk and security, employment, entertainment and amusements, environment and energy, wealth management, healthcare, hospitality, insurance coverage and insured casualty litigation, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, real estate, sports and tax law.

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