No case is won until it is final and “unappealable.”

Winning on appeal is a skill that is finely honed at Orphanides & Toner. With a level of experience often unseen in other law firms, Orphanides & Toner provides clients with a sophisticated appellate practice that has not only given clients resolution to their cases, but has also made a significant contribution to the development of case law in Pennsylvania. In areas such as eminent domain, tax law, municipal law and zoning, the appellate courts have selected cases argued by our attorneys to become binding law throughout the Commonwealth.     

  • In the published decision of Berwick Area Landlord Ass'n v. Borough of Berwick, 48 A.3d 524 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2012), Paul Toner represented a coalition of landlords and landlord groups in a successful challenge to the Borough of Berwick’s attempt to make landlord “viciously liable” for the acts of their tenants.  In its binding, precedential decision, the Commonwealth Court affirmed the trial court’s decision to strike all vicarious liability provisions from the newly enacted ordinance and it set the general “legal” parameters of a municipal landlord registration ordinance.
  • In the published decision of Keystone Outdoor Advertising v. Zoning Bd. of Adjustment,  977 A.2d 1132, 1152 (2009), Paul Toner joined with a team of leading land use practitioners to successfully litigate the issue of the legal “standing” of protestants to land use applications to participate in land use appeals.  Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled that the general interest of civic associations in enforcing zoning provisions of the Philadelphia Zoning Code, opposing the erection of illegal billboards, and fostering community development were no different from the abstract interest that all citizens have in the outcome of the proceedings and was insufficient to grant standing to appeal from a land use decision. 
  • In Ciarlone v. City of Reading, 263 F.R.D. 198 (E.D.Pa. 2009), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania addressed whether a district judge could be compelled to testify as to admission made by a code enforcement officer during an application for administrative search warrant.  In particular, the court addressed parameters of exceptions to the deliberative process privilege in the context of a 1983  action against municipal code enforcement officers.
  • In the published decision of Lynnebrook and Woodbrook Associates, L.P. ex rel. Lynnebrook Manor, Inc. v. Borough of Millersville, 600 Pa. 108, 963 A.2d 1261 (2008), Paul Toner secured a reversal of a decision of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania that had affirmed a municipality’s right to tax residential lease transactions.  Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled that the Local Tax Enabling Act deprived municipalities of the ability to tax “leases.”  
  • In the published decision of McLoughlin v. Zoning Hearing Bd. of Newtown Twp.,  953 A.2d 855 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2008), Paul Toner joined with Vincent B. Mancini, Esquire, to successfully uphold a decision of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas that denied “Intervenor Party” status to a protesting neighbor of a zoning application.  Ultimately, the Commonwealth Court held that the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code required a neighboring landowner to file a “Petition to Intervene” and set forth facts necessary to establish that the neighbor was “aggrieved,” rather than simply file a “Notice to Intervene” in order to participate in a land use appeal as a party.
  • In the published decision of In re S.E. Cent. Bus. Dist. Redevelopment Area # 1, 946 A.2d 1154 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2008), Paul joined with fellow associates at the Law Offices of Vincent B. Mancini & Associates to successfully uphold a decision to deny the preliminary objections in an action brought pursuant to the Pennsylvania Eminent Domain Code.  Ultimately, the Commonwealth Court ruled that United States Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005), did not afford private property rights greater than those already enjoyed by Pennsylvanians.
  • In the published decision of Ridley Park United Methodist Church v. Zoning Hearing Bd. Ridley Park Borough, 920 A.2d 953 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2007), Paul obtained a reversal of a decision of the President Judge of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas to grant a “special exception” based upon the Pennsylvania Religious Freedoms Protection Act.  Ultimately, the Commonwealth agreed with our client’s argument that the zoning hearing board was not required to approve a land use application of a religious institution, which would otherwise have been without merit.  The Commonwealth Court also recognized that the Religious Freedoms Protection Act actually afforded Pennsylvanians lesser rights than those already provided in the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act