News & Case Notes

A worker�s testimony of sex harassment not sufficient for psychological injury
A worker�s testimony of sexual harassment by a supervisor not sufficient for psychological injury claim. (2/22/2005)

AP: House to pass class action bill today
AP: U.S. House to put final stamp on moving class action suits to federal court. (2/17/2005)

Arbitration award modified
Judge modifies UIM arbitration award for Pa. man injured in Ohio. (2/23/2005)

Bush to sign class-action bill today
The so-called Class Action Fairness Act will move large multistate class-action lawsuits out of state courts and into federal courts. (2/18/2005)

Court confirms arbitrator's award in UM/UIM case
Superior Ct. confirms arbitrator�s award in UM/UIM selection form case. (2/17/2005)

Fall from examining table not compensable
Fall from examining table involves claims of medical malpractice�not ordinary negligence, Superior Ct. rules. (2/16/2005)

Geisinger to raise rates 20 percent
The Pa. Insurance Department has approved a 20% rate increase for Geisinger customers (2/24/2005)

Lawmaker introduces anti-consumer bills
Turzai proposes legislation calling for damage caps, abolishing joint & several. (2/15/2005)

New rules for personal care homes approved
The state has approved changes to the personal care homes industry. (2/25/2005)

Punitive award satisfies test in bad faith case
Third Circuit upholds punitive award in bad faith case. (2/15/2005)

Push for caps losing steam?
An article in the Pa. Law Weekly reports that doctors groups may be losing credibility. (2/14/2005)

Supreme Ct. clarifies Cert. of Merit rule
Certificate of Merit need not specifically identify the licensed professionals involved in alleged misconduct. (2/11/2022)

Trial lawyers push for legislative reforms
PaTLA will testify today before the House Judiciary Committee on issues impacting injured victims and their families. (2/16/2005)

Voters not concerned with med-mal
Poll: So-called �med-mal crisis� not on voters� radar. (2/22/2005)

Lawmaker seeks measures to rein in on med-mal insurers
Bills would help bring "stability" to the medical malpractice insurance market. (2/11/2022)

Senate passes class-action bill
Bill is certain to pass in the House and be signed by the President as early as next week, (2/11/2022)

2 state agencies not separate under Comp Act
PennDOT and state police not �separate enterprises� under Workers� Comp, Commonwealth Court rules. (2/10/2023)

Association resumes Victims' Stories
Trial lawyers resume Victims� Stories with compelling tale of woman who lost her hands and feet due to her doctors� negligence. (2/9/2023)

Civil rule on damages applies in plaintiff's arbitration
An injured plaintiff awarded $4,000 through arbitration is permitted to use documentary evidence of his damages pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1311.1(a). (2/9/2023)

Comp and terrorism?
Workers' comp insurers to be hardest hit if Terrorism Insurance Act not extended. (2/9/2023)

Victims of medical negligence in D.C. today
Center for Justice & Democracy: Patients losing patience - medical malpractice and drug victims travel to D.C. to fight legislation, demand meeting with Bush. (2/8/2023)

Non-ERISA insurer has limited right of subrogation
New Superior Ct. case pits anti-subrogation clause of MVFRL against ERISA preemption. (2/7/2023)

Cut attorney fees in comp, state ctte. recommends
State budget committee recommends cutting attorney fees in workers� comp cases. (2/4/2023)

Legislator proposes med-mal screening
Clearfield Co. Rep. Camille "Bud" George proposes screening board for med-mal cases. (2/3/2023)

City liable in accident near state hwy.
Municipality would be secondarily liable in accident occurring near state highway. (2/2/2023)

Health insurer waives subrogation
Health insurer waived subrogation when it failed to act within reasonable time. (2/1/2023)

6-yr. SOL for 534 claims
6-year SOL for injuries brought under Act 534, Commonwealth Ct. rules. (1/28/2005)

Corman issues new tort reform memo
Sen. Jake Corman's (R-Centre) co-sponsorship memo on tort reform. (1/27/2005)

Injured plaintiff's claim not time-barred
Injured plaintiff�s med-mal claim not time-barred, Superior Ct. rules. (1/27/2005)

Alleg. judge rules on surveillance tape discovery
Secret video of injured plaintiff may only be disclosed after a deposition, Allegheny judge rules. (1/26/2005)

Glaxo settles in workers' rights case
Inquirer: Glaxo agrees to pay $5.2 million in workers� rights suit; Reuters: Court reinstate McDonald's obesity suit. (1/26/2005)

Court rules on injured officer's mental/physical injury
Mere presence of mental stress in officer�s cardiac injury not sufficient to disregard credible evidence that physical activity contributed substantially. (1/25/2005)

A.P.: Docs tell of Merck's Vioxx dismay
Merck & Co. forced one of its researchers to remove her name from a study linking Vioxx to heart attacks, AP reports. (1/25/2005)

Courts must follow objective test for misconduct
Courts must follow "objective test" for etermining post-verdict allegations of prejudice in med-mal trial. (1/24/2005)

A.P.: Mountour woman accuses surgeon of leaving instrument in uteris
AP: Montour woman accuses surgeon of leaving instrument in her uterus PA Health Dept. does not require instrument counts. (1/21/2005)

Delco. judge denies excess UIM coverage
Insured who failed to obtain consent for settling claims is ineligible for excess UIM benefits through personal policy. (1/20/2005)

Concessionaire must pay $75M to victims of drunk driver
Jury rules Philadelphia- based Aramark responsible for young victim of a driver it served alcohol. (1/20/2005)

Claim of negligence based on res ipsa loquitur can continue
Injured man may pursue claim of negligence on basis of Res Ipsa Loquitur even though other negligence claims against other co-defendants. (1/19/2005)

Stay sought in diet drug litigation
Wyeth and certain lawyers representing thousands of filed lawsuits have jointly asked the Philadelphia Federal District Court to approve a stay of litigation. (1/19/2005)

Comp carriers must share liability
Comp carriers must share liability for worker�s separate injuries, Commonwealth Court rules. (1/18/2005)

Centre Co. hires comp. risk assessor
The Centre Daily Times reports that the county has hired a risk management assessor on comp. (1/14/2005)

Disabled victims of abuse face uphill battle
Disabled fighting two battles: ending abuse by caregivers and raising awareness. (1/14/2005)

PaTLA President responds to doctors' lawsuits
Doctors gouged by insurance companies shouldn�t be going after lawyers, says state trial lawyers� president. (1/13/2005)

Society should pay for doctors' mistakes
Society should pay for doctors� insurance, says former U.S. Treasury Secretary. (1/13/2005)

Supreme CT. denies petition in UM case
Supreme Ct. denies plaintiff�s motion in UM/UIM rejection form case. (1/12/2022)

Asbestos compensation plan details
Specter details compensation of asbestos victims under proposed plan, Bloomberg reports. (1/12/2022)

Papers blast Bush tort reform plan
This week, major newspapers around the U.S. opposed the President�s plan to severely cap pain and suffering awards in medical negligence cases. (1/11/2022)

Court rules in UIM sign-down case
Change in liability coverage requires request for lowered UM/UIM limits, Superior Ct. rules. (1/10/2023)

$2.5M verdict in Fen-Phen case
Jury finds Wyeth liable for $2.5M in Fen-Phen case. (1/7/2023)

State motion rule applies in SEPTA case
30-day rule of civil procedure deadline controls in personal injury claim brought by SEPTA employee. (1/6/2023)

Caps not the answer, says atty.
Damage caps will not reduce premiums, says atty. who fought Calif. med-mal hikes. (1/5/2023)

Ct. addreses 'jerk or jolt' doctrine in bus injury case
Doctor�s testimony on severity of injury insufficient to satisfy requirement of "jerk or jolt" doctrine, Commonwealth Ct. rules. (1/5/2023)

Specter offers asbestos trust-fund bill
Specter offers asbestos trust-fund bill, Washington Post reports. (1/5/2023)

Turnpike crash victims' claims barred
Survivors of tragic turnpike crash barred from pursuing negligence claim under sovereign immunity. (1/4/2023)

Court addresses 'fellow employee' limitation
Employer must show similarly situated employees to invoke �fellow employee� limitation. (1/3/2023)

CAT Fund not liable for lapsed insurance of Dr.
CAT Fund not liable for negligence claim against physician who let insurance lapse. (12/30/2004)

New filing requirements in med-mal cases
The Pa. Supreme Ct. has issued new filing requirements in med-mal cases. (12/29/2004)

Around the State 12/27/2004

Workplace deaths rise in Berks and region
The number of work-related deaths was "well above normal" in 2004 (12/27/2004)

ALM: Number of med-mal filings down for second year
Reduced number of med-mal filings in Phila. continues for second year, American Lawyer Media reports. (12/23/2004)

Charter school immune from personal injury suit
A Philadelphia charter school is afforded the same statutory immunity as other political subdivisions, a Phila. judge has ruled. (12/22/2004)

Phila. judge blasts back at tort reformers
Washington lobbyist group lists Philadelphia civil courts as "Judicial Hellhole." (12/22/2004)

Contractor's duty to remove snow & ice
Questions as to contractor�s duty to remove snow and ice from parking lot, Fayette Judge rules. (12/21/2004)

MIIX Group announces bankruptcy filing
MIIX and New Jersey State Medical Underwriters, Inc. filed for bankruptcy on Dec. 20 (12/21/2004)

Computer systems can lead to medication errors
Washington Post: Computer systems designed to eliminate medical errors can contribute to mistakes. (12/21/2004)

Court rules on impairment rating deadline
Injured worker who attends impairment evaluation does not waive right to object to timeliness of employer�s request. (12/20/2004)

ALM: States eye special med-mal courts
States eye special med-mal courts to take juries out of the equation, American Lawyer Media reports. (12/17/2004)

Commonwealth Court rules on vehicle suspension
Commonwealth Court rules on vehicle suspension of due to lapsed insurance. (12/16/2004)

ATLA chief: Bush plan will take away legal rights
ATLA chief: Bush economic plan will take away Americans� legal rights. (12/16/2004)

Hospital personnel records not discoverable
Hospital personnel records not discoverable, Allegheny judge rules. (12/15/2004)

Joint & several finding does not preclude PPCIGA
Joint and several finding against defendants in med-mal case does not preclude obligation of PPCIGA, Superior Ct. rules. (12/15/2004)

Gov. to sign docs' Mcare extention today
Gov. to sign bill extending doctors� Mcare subsidies today. (12/13/2004)

Baycol class action proceeds
Common Pleas judge grants certification of class in Baycol case. (12/13/2004)

ABA proposes changes to ensure jurors' privacy
American Bar Association proposes changes to protect jurors� privacy, improve fees. (12/10/2023)

Jury awards $1.2 M in dehydration death
Case was moved to Delco. Under venue change law. (12/9/2023)

Congress to take up nat'l auto no-fault
The Association of Trial Lawyers of America has reported that national automobile no-fault is on the congressional agenda. (12/8/2023)

Lancaster judge grants motion to compel video testimony of defendant doctor
In a case alleging a doctor�s failure to diagnose colon cancer, a defendant doctor is required to submit to a video deposition, a Lancaster Common Pleas judge has ruled. (12/7/2023)

Common Pleas judge violates coordinate jurisdiction rule
Common Pleas judge violated coordinate jurisdiction rule in dismissing med-mal case, Superior Court rules. (12/3/2023)

Consumers misled by auto dealers have limited rights
Supreme Court limits damages for consumers misled by shady auto sales practices. (12/2/2023)

Supreme Ct. announces new med-mal rules change
Supreme Court announces civil rules amendment to clarify med-mal litigation procedure (12/1/2023)

Factual cause charge appropriate
Trial judge did not err when charging jury on �factual causation� in negligence case, Common Pleas Judge rules. (12/1/2023)

High Court to hear argument on consumer/worker issues
The Pa. Supreme Court to hear argument on limited tort, uninsured motorist coverage, and work comp this week. (11/30/2004)

Gov. signs asbestos immunity bill
Gov. signs asbestos immunity for Crown Holdings Inc./Megan�s Law penalties. (11/29/2004)

Physicians' group pushes for MCARE abatement, tort resrictions
A letter from Pa. Physicians for the Protection of Specialty Care to Gov. Rendell urged the Gov. to sign HB 1211 extending 100% MCARE abatement, but also pressed for passing further restrictions for injured patients. (11/29/2004)

Lay testimony of co-worker insufficient to prove asbestosis claim
Supreme Ct. rules on standard for admission of lay opinion evidence in workers' compensation case. (11/29/2004)

Superior Ct. rules on non pros in certificate of merit case
Judgment of non pros not automatic in case where plaintiff failed to timely file certificate of merit, the Superior Ct. has ruled. (11/24/2004)

Bad faith ruling from Superior Ct.
Superior Court reverses order allowing discovery of privileged documents. (11/17/2004)

Employer only required to pay partial contribution for quadriplegic worker's van
Employer not required to pay full cost of quadriplegic worker�s wheelchair accessible van, Commonwealth Court rules. (11/16/2004)

Expert's testimony doesn't meet Frye standard
Drug expert�s methodology does not meet Frye standard, Common Please judge rules. (11/15/2004)

Patient safety bill gains momentum, health care workers union reports
Bill to protect patients and health care workers gains momentum as Senate Judiciary Committee passes ban on mandatory overtime, health care workers union reports. (11/10/2023)

Supreme Ct. looks at appeal of concurrent proceedings
Question of whether declaratory judgment action and arbitration of overlapping parties can proceed at the same time will have to wait. (11/9/2023)

Supreme Ct. rules on 30-day review period for UROs
Thirty-day review period of URO report commences when party receives notice, Supreme Court rules. (11/8/2023)

Bad faith claim has 2-yr. SOL
Bad faith claim subject to 2-year statute of limitations, Superior Court rules. (11/5/2023)

Caps eelction update from AP
AP: Voters pass referendums on med-mal caps in Nev. and Fla.; Wyo. voters say no to caps; outcome pending on vote in Ore. (11/3/2023)

Cmwlth. Ct. rules employer entitled to UM subrogation
Employer has right of subrogation against injured worker�s recovery of uninsured motorist benefits under Work Comp Act. (11/3/2023)

Supreme Ct. revives claim for psychic injury
Worker�s injuries from alleged harassment not barred by personal conduct exception to Workers� Compensation Act, Supreme Court rules. (11/2/2023)

Comp. insurer can recover from state fund
A workers� compensation insurer can be reimbursed from the Supersedeas Fund, the Commonwealth Ct. has ruled. (11/1/2023)

Trial lawyers to be stationed at Chesco. polls
PaTLA President John Gallagher has announced that trial lawyers will be stationed at polling places in Chester city in order to prevent voter problems at the polls. (10/28/2004)

HMO has right of subrogation against 3rd-party settlement
A Bucks County judge has affirmed the right of subrogation for an HMO in Nott v. Aetna. (10/27/2004)

Insurance rates declining
A non-profit consumer group reports that commercial insurance rates are now dropping significantly. (10/27/2004)

Document reveals truth about med-mal caps
Nation's biggest insurer reveals non-economic damages are "small percentage of total losses paid," consumer group reports. (10/27/2004)

AP: NJ Senate passes measure protecting patients
AP reports reports today that the N.J. State Senate on Oct. 25 approved legislation that would allow hospitals to share employment records of health care workers. (10/26/2004)

Expert's 1099 forms are discoverable
Expert�s 1099s are only partially discoverable, Superior Court panel rules. (10/26/2004)

Contract with America: 10 years later
Even as the architects of the 'Contract with America' hailed its successes this week, they admitted some of its promise has faded. (10/8/2023)

Injured worker entitled to multi-state benefits
Worker entitled to difference between lesser benefits he received in NJ and what he would have been entitled to had he filed his claim originally in Pa. (10/25/2004)

Experts doubt Bush's claims of frivolous lawsuits
L.A. Times: Experts counter claims of �frivolous lawsuits� made by Bush in Pennsylvania speeches. (10/25/2004)

Lawyer liable for faxing complaint
A plaintiff�s lawyer who faxed a malpractice complaint to a reporter not immune under judicial privilege, Court rules. (10/22/2004)

House investigates Blue Cross surplus
State House will investigate why Blue Cross/Shield maintain multi-billion dollar surplus while rates rise; 10/21/2004

House approves $460M bailout for doctors
The State House on Tuesday approved a $460 Million malpractice insurance bailout for doctors. (10/20/2004)

Deliveryman's injury is compensable
Deliveryman�s injury was brief departure from work activity, but within course of his job under Workers� Compensation Act, Commonwealth Court rules. (10/18/2004)

Court Statistics show no explosion of med-mal filings
Statistics compiled by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Lackawanna County Clerk of Judicial Records show a whopping 91 percent drop in medical malpractice case filings in Lackawanna County since 2000.

Superior Ct. affirms verdict for severely injured motorist

Panel offers uses for Blues' surplus
Cutting health insurance premiums, paying higher fees to doctors and giving $25 million to clinics for the poor are among suggested uses for the $4 billion surplus held by Pennsylvania's four Blue Cross-Blue Shield companies. (10/13/2004)

Whistleblower: Tobacco industry knew of safer cigarette, AP reports
The Associated Press reports that a tobacco whistle-blower accuses industry of keeping safer cigarettes off the market. (10/7/2023)

Watchdog group clears the air over political ads
Watchdog for legal rights is clearing the air over ads that they claim to contain "major falsehoods" about doctor/hospital availability due to malpractice. (10/6/2023)

New asbestos ruling from Superior Court
Plaintiff�s direct testimony of asbestos exposure precludes use of Eckenrod test based on circumstantial evidence. (10/6/2023)

Bush to change tomorrow's Wilkes Barre speech
The Scranton Times reports that the President is changing the topic of Oct. 6 speech in Wilkes-Barre from med-mal reform to war on terror and the economy. (10/5/2023)

Missed deadline not sufficient for dismissal of plaintiff's med-mal suit
Memorandum decision on failure to produce expert in med-mal case from the Superior Court. (10/4/2023)

Dam owner not liable to downstream property owners in aftermath of hurricane
Also, court addresses negligence per se with regard to speeding; 10/1/2023

Santorum eying Senate whip post
And possible 2008 presdential bid, Philadelphia Inquirer reports. (9/30/2004)

Equine liability: New ruling form Lycoming Co.
Plaintiff must prove horse had �vicious propensities� known to defendants in personal injury case, Lycoming judge rules. (10/12/2022)

Victory for class-action plaintiffs
Offer of $1,000 to lead plaintiff cannot overturn class-action against defendant bill collector, Third Circuit Court rules. (9/30/2004)

Commonwealth Ct. decision in calculating subrogation lien
Present value�not future value�of injured worker�s structured settlement must be used to determine employer�s subrogation lien. (9/29/2004)

Post-Gazette article reports on new remittitur rule
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article on new rule on remittitur. (9/28/2004)

Employer's right to injured workers offset benefits
Employer gets offset for gross amount of injured worker�s severance benefits, Commonwealth Court rules. (9/24/2004)

Study: Half of patients getting 'bad care'
Wild variations in medical care led to 79,000 avoidable deaths and $1.8 billion in additional medical costs last year, according to a private study. (9/24/2004)

Task force on MCARE holds hearing today
State Rep. Mike Veon announced that the HEART health-care task force will hold a hearing today in Harrisburg. (9/22/2004)

Notice to friends of Jim Beasley Sr.
Jim Beasley Jr. invites all of his friends to celebrate Mr. Beasely's life at the firm offices this Thursday, Sept. 23, starting at 3 p.m. Notice appearing in today's Legal attached. (9/21/2004)

State Supreme Ct. adopts new remittitur rule
Chief Justice Ralph J. Cappy today announced new Civil Procedural Rule 1042.72 that effectively creates a special category for considering whether medical malpractice awards are excessive. (9/20/2004)

Employer cannot relitigate work injury
An employee cannot have his benefits terminated by his employer based on an expert�s opinion challenging the cause of the work injury when a judge had previously determined the injury was work-related. (9/20/2004)

Med-mal seminars planned for trial judges
Topics likely to include changes in Civil Procedural court rules and MCARE. (9/17/2004)

CVS reaches deal in accident victim prescription scam
The Philadelphia Daily News reports that CVS has agreed to post signs in all its Pennsylvania pharmacies warning customers that it will not fill prescriptions for people hurt in an automobile accident. (9/16/2004)

House passes bill limiting access to courts
CNN reports that House Republicans on Tuesday pushed through legislation that would restrict the location of where many personal injury suits could be brought. (9/16/2004)

Insurer has duty to defend insured who evaded police
Superior Court held that insurance co. had duty to indemnify and defend for liability stemming from a car accident where defendant was attempting to evade the police and injured 2 people. (9/15/2004)

Judgment reversed against plaintiff who missed hearing
A plaintiff who did not show up in court for a hearing can have her action reinstated because her explanation was reasonable. (9/15/2004)

Spoliation in patent case; docs fight policy
A federal magistrate judge has imposed sanctions totaling $566,838 against Samsung Electronics Co.for destroying e-mails in a patent infringement case. (9/14/2004)

2 insurance cos. can be listed in bad faith claim
Two related insurance companies can be an "insurer" under bad faith statute, Superior Court rules in Brown v. Progressive. (9/13/2004)

Pier 34 litigation concludes
Litigation has concluded involving the 32 non-death claimants in the May 18, 2023 Pier 34 collapse. (9/10/2023)

Nat' trial lawyers spotlight pro bono help for 9/11 families
Noted Scranton firm represented six families of Sept. 11 tragedy. (6/29/2004)