Negligence

July 23rd, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Negligence

NEGLIGENCE-DEAD MAN'S ACT Jones v. Plumer, 2020 Pa. Super. LEXIS 17 (January 15, 2020) Kunselman, J.  Dead Man’s Rule applies even in negligence cases.  Here, the appellant, Jones, asked the court to carve out an exception for testimony not related to the extent of her damages but instead related directly to one of the elements of negligence.  Ms. Jones would testify that Mr. Stover’s breach of his duty caused her harm.  Hence, the testimony goes to the heart of her negligence claim.  In the 40 years since earlier case law on the subject, the Supreme Court has never extended it to allow testimony on an element of negligence.  Accordingly, the court rejects the Jones contention that the application of the Dead Man’s Act was overly broad.  As to waiver, there is no waiver because of settlement letters.  Ms. Jones may not avoid the Dead Man’s Act on waiver grounds.  The lack of a handrail may go to negligence but does not necessarily prove causation.  The note that the steps had no railing is legally insufficient to place the question of causation before the jury.  The absence of a hand railing…