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News & Case Notes

Attorney's apparent authority not sufficent for settlement
Plaintiff attorney�s "apparent authority" insufficient to enter into settlement in med-mal claim. (4/4/2023)

Insurance Commissioner announces comp savings for employers
Employers to save an additional $32.5 million in comp costs in 2005; additional five percent savings available. (4/1/2023)

Municipal employer entitled to pension offset
Municipal employer permitted subrogation of third-party settlement and offset against injured policewoman�s disability pension. (3/29/2005)

PennDOT immune from civil suit
PennDOT immune from civil suit alleging negligent condition of roadways. (4/5/2023)

Police and firemen ordered back to work as city greeters
City of Scranton orders injured police and firemen back to work or risk losing benefits. (3/29/2005)

Punitive damages permitted in negligent supervision case
Jury can award punitive damages for negligent supervision in molestation case against priest, Supreme Ct. rules. (3/28/2005)

Statute of Limitations under Discovery Rule
Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules that it is irrelevant to application of discovery rule whether plaintiff's injury determined within S.O.L. (3/21/2005)

New opinion from Eastern Dist. on household resident
The U.S. District Court (E.D.Pa.) ruled on March 16 in Prudential v. Epstein that the Prudential exclusion of "household resident" as applied in the case was ambiguous and invalid. (3/25/2005)

Acupuntcurist may be 'ostensible agent'
Acupuncturist can be �ostensible agent� in burn injury case, Superior Court rules. (3/24/2005)

Love Award presented to Temple trial pair
Photo & Caption: Trial lawyers present Love Award to Temple trial pair. (3/23/2005)

Reargument granted in UM case
Superior Court grants reargument in UM/UIM selection form case. (3/23/2005)

Sovereign immunity in guardrail case
Lack of guardrail is not a dangerous condition for which government immunity is waived. (3/22/2005)

Work Comp ruling on hearling loss
Denial of hearing loss claim is not violation of worker�s equal protection right. (3/21/2005)

Preclusion of expert testimony not retroactive application of MCARE
Expert qualifications under MCARE apply in case filed before statute was enacted. (3/18/2005)

Amicus Update: Supreme Ct. hears cases
Amicus Update: Pa. Supreme Court hears argument on workers� comp and product safety cases. (3/17/2005)

Court: No evidence to support co-defendants' cross claims in med-mal case
Granting non-suit to defendant hospital proper for cross claims by co-defendant physicians, Superior Ct. rules. (3/16/2005)

New trial granted in auto case
Man injured in rear-end accident granted new trial where jury�s verdict was against the weigh of the evidence. (3/15/2005)

ATLA: Texas study proves no link between med-mal verdicts and premiums
Groundbreaking study demonstrates med-mal verdicts not the cause of Texas doctors� rapid rise in insurance premiums. (3/14/2005)

Benefits denied to worker struck by car while crossing hwy.
Court rules that he was not acting within course and scope of his employment. (3/14/2005)

Call for caps on pain and suffering
Medical Society chief calls for limits on victims� pain and suffering damages to reduce liability premiums. (3/11/2022).

Lackawanna judge grants judgment of bad faith
A Lackawanna Common Pleas judge has granted a plaintiff partial summary judgment in a bad faith case against her automobile insurance company. (3/10/2023)

Pondimin claim barred
Plaintiff�s claim barred against diet drug under assumption of risk doctrine. (3/9/2023)

Supersedeas fund opinion from Cmwlth. Ct.
Employer not entitled to supersedeas reimbursements for benefits to injured worker. (3/8/2023)

Tort reformers now looking at asbestos, med-mal
Insurance industry newsletter reports insurers now setting their sights on vicims of exposure and medical negligence. (3/7/2023)

Plaintiff in negligence case not entitled to discovery of fincnacial worth
Plaintiff injured in auto accident not entitled to discovery of defendant�s financial worth. (3/7/2023)

Consumer group applauds refunding of doctors' premiums
Nat�l consumer group applauds Washington Insurance Commissioner for refunding premiums to doctors. (3/4/2023)

A new study reports mistakes lead to tens of thousands of patient deaths
Nat�l nursing organization which co-sponsored study says hospitals must improve workplace communication to reduce medical errors, enhance quality of care. (3/3/2023)

Data bank records not discoverable
Records in Nat'l Practitioner Data Bank immune from discovery, Superior Ct. rules. (3/3/2023)

Court grants new trial over cross of expert witness
Questioning of expert doctor�s probationary status on unrelated matter gives injured plaintiff new trial. (3/2/2023)

Drug maker okays Fen-Phen settlement
Diet drug maker Wyeth continues with settlement process for plaintiffs who opted out of class action. (3/2/2023)

MS drug pulled off market
The new Multiple Sclerosis drug Tysabri was pulled off the market after one patient died and another suffered serious side effects (3/1/2023)

Tpke Commisssion not entitled to offset
Tpke Commission not entitled to offset in negligence case. (2/28/2005)

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

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

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

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

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)

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)

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)

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

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)

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

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

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)

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

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)

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

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)

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

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)

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)

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

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

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)

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)

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)

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