News & Publications

Pennsylvania Updates April 17, 2018

Case Bulletin – PA Supreme Court allows Suit against Commonwealth for Negligent Installation and Design of a Guardrail

On February 21, 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that when PennDOT installs a guardrail, “sovereign immunity is waived if the agency’s negligent installation and design creates a dangerous condition.” Cagey v. Commonwealth, ___ A.3d ___, 2018 WL 987783 (Pa. Feb. 21, 2018) (overruling Lambert v. Katz, 8 A.3d 409 (Pa. Commw. 2010); Stein v. […]

Pennsylvania Updates April 16, 2018

Case Bulletin – Superior Court Grants New Trial In Case in which Jury Charge Contained an Outdated Definition of “Defect”

On February 16, 2018, the Superior Court found that a Defendant manufacturer/supplier was entitled to a new trial following a denial of post-trial motions.  It held that because the Supreme Court’s decision in Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc., 104 A.3d 328 (Pa. 2014) created a new definition of “defect” a jury charge containing an outdated […]

Pennsylvania Updates March 7, 2018

Case Bulletin – DUI Legal & Practical Developments; What It Takes to Reach the Legal Limit

Along with DUI laws in states across the country, Pennsylvania DUI laws and associated penalties are changing.  A recent U. S. Supreme Court case, Birchfield v. North Dakota, decided on June 23, 2016, held that taking a blood sample or administering a breath test is a search governed by the Fourth Amendment.  In this context, […]

Pennsylvania Updates February 28, 2018

Case Bulletin – Pennsylvania Supreme Court holds that statute of limitations for an uninsured motorist claim begins to run upon “an alleged breach of a contractual duty” by the insurer.

Erie Ins. Exch. v. Bristol., No. 124 MAP 2016 (Pa., Nov. 22, 2017). In July 2005, Michael Bristol was injured in a hit-and-run accident while working as a lineman for RCC, Inc.  RCC was insured though a policy issued by Erie Insurance that contained an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Endorsement.  That endorsement contained an arbitration clause. […]

Pennsylvania Updates January 19, 2018

Case Bulletin – Superior Court Holds Fair Share Act Applies to Strict Liability Claims

On Tuesday, December 28, 2017, the Superior Court ruled that the Fair Share Act, 42 Pa.C.S. § 7102, applies to strict liability cases, including asbestos litigation. Roverano v. John Crane, Inc., ___ A.3d ___, 2017 WL 6761077 (Pa. Super. 2017). In Roverano, the plaintiff alleged exposure to asbestos during his employment from 1971-1981. He was […]

Pennsylvania Updates January 8, 2018

Case Bulletin – Third Circuit Upholds Dismissal Based On Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

On September 7, 2017, the Third Circuit upheld a dismissal of a Complaint against Walt Disney Parks and the Walt Disney Company based upon lack of personal jurisdiction. See Barth v. Walt Disney Parks & Resorts U.S., Inc., 2017 WL 3951783 (3d Cir. Sept. 8, 2017) (unpublished). The Plaintiffs sued the Disney Defendants in Philadelphia […]

Pennsylvania Updates January 8, 2018

Case Bulletin – Brandt v. Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., 2017 WL 4271039 (Pa. Com. Pl.) Philadelphia trial court grants Defendants’ motions in limine and excludes two of Plaintiffs’ experts from testifying at trial in talcum powder mesothelioma case.

On September 25, 2017, a Philadelphia trial court (the “Court”) granted Defendants’ motions in limine and precluded two of Plaintiff’s experts from testifying at trial in a talcum powder mesothelioma case Brandt v. Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., 2017 WL 4271039 (Pa. Com. Pl.).  After extensive motions, briefing and several days of testimony in Frye hearings, the […]

Pennsylvania Updates September 28, 2017

Case Bulletin – Pennsylvania Supreme Court holds that “proof of an insurance company’s motive of self-interest or ill-will is not a prerequisite to prevailing in a bad faith claim.”

Rancosky v. Washington Nat. Ins. Co., No. 28 WAP 2016 (Pa., Sep. 28, 2017). This appeal arose from a dispute between Conseco Health Insurance Company and its insured (LeAnn Rancosky) over a cancer insurance policy Rancosky had purchased in connection with her employment as a postal worker.  The dispute centered on the policy’s waiver-of-premium provision, […]

Pennsylvania Updates July 10, 2017

Case Bulletin – Federal District Court holds Minimum Financial Requirement for Diversity Jurisdiction Met in UM Bad Faith Action

On May 18, 2017, Judge Conaboy from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania held that the minimum requirement of greater than $75,000 to satisfy diversity jurisdiction was met in an Uninsured Motorist (UM) bad faith claim, even where the policy limits were below this threshold. Koerner v. GEICO Cas. Co., […]

Pennsylvania Updates June 30, 2017

Case Bulletin – The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Clarifies the Duty of Informed Consent

On June 20, 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court addressed a trial court’s instructions to the jury related to informed consent in Shinal v. Toms, M.D., 31 MAP 2016 (Pa. 2017), ultimately overruling prior Superior Court holdings.  In doing so, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that a physician may not delegate to others his or her […]

Pennsylvania Updates April 25, 2017

Pennsylvania Superior Court Permits Evidence of Industry and Safety Standards In Products Liability Case Post-Tincher

On April 11, 2017, the Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s admission of evidence of industry and safety standards in the first products liability case considering this issue after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc., 104 A.3d 328 (Pa. 2014).   In Renninger v. A&R Machine Shop, ___ A.3d […]

Pennsylvania Updates April 25, 2017

Case Bulletin – PA Superior Court Upholds Arbitration Clause

On March 30, 2017, Pennsylvania’s Superior Court addressed the issue of mandatory arbitration arising out of a contract in Fellerman v. Peco Energy Co., 2017 WL 1175434 (Pa. Super. 2017).  In Fellerman, the plaintiffs retained the defendant to perform a home inspection as part of a real estate transaction.  The plaintiffs signed a contract prepared […]

Pennsylvania Updates April 25, 2017

Case Bulletin – Federal District Court Addresses Improper Allegations in Insurance Bad Faith Case in Recent Decision

On January 27, 2017, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania held that references of fiduciary duties owed to an insured by an insurance company must be stricken from plaintiff’s Complaint alleging claims of bad faith. In Meyers v. Protective Insurance Company, the Plaintiff husband was injured in a hit-and-run vehicle […]

Pennsylvania Updates March 26, 2017

Case Bulletin – Attorney’s Fees Permitted Even Where Plaintiff Elected $25,000 Limit Under Pa.R.C.P. 1311.1

On March 1, 2017, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held in a matter of first impression that a plaintiff who elects to limit damages to $25,000 pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1311.1 may still recover attorney’s fees in excess of that limit. Grimm v. Universal Med. Servs., Inc., ___ A.3d ___, 2017 Pa. Super. 53 (Mar. 1, 2017). […]

Pennsylvania Updates February 26, 2017

Case Bulletin – PA Superior Court Addresses Minor Deviations to UIM Waiver Form

On December 14, 2016, the Pennsylvania Superior Court (the “Court”) issued its decision in Petty v. Federated Mutual Insurance Co., 2016 WL 7234016 (Pa. Super. 2016), holding: (1) the deviations from the statutory form for waiving underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage and the actual form used by the insurer were inconsequential niggles that had no impact […]

Pennsylvania Updates January 29, 2017

Case Bulletin – Third Circuit Reviews the Daubert Standard For Experts in Employment Law

On Tuesday, January 10, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a ruling in Karlo v. Pittsburgh Glass Works, LLC,  where it discussed statistical expert opinions and interpreted the standard under Daubert for utilizing these experts’ opinions.   In Karlo, the defendant was a manufacturer of automotive glass.  When the […]

Pennsylvania Updates January 29, 2017

Case Bulletin – Pennsylvania Superior Court Applies Tincher in Recent Products Liability Case

In an opinion announced on January 13, 2017 in High v. Pennsy Supply, Inc. (No. 411 MDA 2016), a strict products liability case, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant concrete supplier.  The Superior Court held that the […]

Pennsylvania Updates January 29, 2017

Case Bulletin – Superior Court of Pennsylvania Holds that Issues Relating to Privilege Are Immediately Appealable as a Collateral Order

In Farrell v. Regola, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently held that issues involving documents allegedly covered by attorney-client privilege were immediately appealable as a collateral order; communications made to clinical social workers were protected by the psychiatrist/psychologist privilege; and handwritten notes taken during civil deposition; and a prior criminal trial were protected by attorney client […]

Pennsylvania Updates December 15, 2016

Case Bulletin – Equitable tolling not available to Plaintiff for “inexcusable neglect” in failing to properly file with PHRC

In Sule v. Robert J. Echenberg M.D., et al, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that equitable tolling was not available to the plaintiff for “inexcusable neglect” in failing to timely file a claim under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.  The Plaintiff, Melissa Sule, was a medical receptionist who alleges that she was diagnosed with a […]

Pennsylvania Updates November 30, 2016

Case Bulletin – PA Superior Court Affirms Ruling Precluding Plaintiff’s Expert Witness and Entry of Non-Suit

In an opinion announced on November 8, 2016, in the matter of Nobles v. Staples, Inc. et al., No. 2939 EDA 2015, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that a pre-trial motion in limine can put a party on notice for an “eleventh hour” grant of summary judgment prior to trial.   In Nobles, the plaintiff […]

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