July 23rd, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Damages

DAMAGES-PUNITIVE-RATIO OF DAMAGES AGAINST MULTIPLE DEFENDANTS Bert Co. v. Turk, 2021 Pa. Super. LEXIS 270 (May 5, 2021) (Kunselman, J.)  Notwithstanding the various issues on this non-solicitation agreements case which resulted in punitive damages, the major issue was that four tortfeasors largely focused on the punitive damage award and the court had the question as to how to fix the ratio of those.  The court adopted the reasoning of the Supreme Court of Texas and the Ninth Circuit.  Computation of damages ratios in multi-defendant cases are on a per-defendant basis, rather than by aggregating all of the compensatory and punitive damages on the per-judgment basis.  Because the tortfeasors used a per-judgment calculation to derive their damages ratio, that ratio is erroneous as a matter of law.  The ratio guidepost is not strictly a compensatory to punitive damages question.  Instead, the guidepost can also consider the potential harm a plaintiff could have suffered due to defendant’s misconduct.  Here, there was intentional misconduct.  If the wealthiest persons know that their conduct will cost them exactly “x” dollars, they can determine in advance whether injuring someone is a worthwhile investment.  Due process does…


March 20th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Damages

Damages in a Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Claim Murga v. Lehigh Valley Physicians Grp. 2018 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 3053 (November 26, 2018) Johnson, J.-Court would not grant partial summary judgment on negligent affliction of emotional distress claim. Plaintiff argued that NIED claims have evolved and broadened in Pennsylvania and that her NIED claims were appropriate under multiple theories of recovery including the duty of care arising from a special relationship, a physical impact theory and a bystander theory. The court distinguished between transitory, nonrecurring physical phenomena like fright as opposed to depression, nightmares, stress and anxiety. Plaintiff’s severe emotional and psychological injuries which were accompanied by physical injuries, pain and suffering are sufficient to satisfy the physical harm requirement.