PROCEDURE-JURISDICTION-FOREIGN NATIONALS

September 26th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Procedure

Aldossari v. Ripp, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 25563 (3rd Cir. September 13, 2022) (Jordan, C.J.)  In this dispute, defendant Saudi Arabia was one of the parties sued along with the Crown Prince.  The court found the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act applied and there was no waiver of sovereign immunity.  A foreign state is not immune from any act based upon commercial activity.  The court found that this exception did not apply.  The place of ultimate contractual obligation was in Saudi Arabia.  In sum, the few and thin strands of this case that pass through the United States are insufficient to justify exercising jurisdiction under the FSIA over the claims against Saudi Arabia and Saudi Aramco.  As to the Crown Prince, the court did not think that he had any connection with Pennsylvania supporting a claim.

PROCEDURE-DISCOVERY-PEER REVIEW-ATTORNEY-CLIENT

September 15th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Procedure

Williams v. Geo Group, 2022 Pa. Super. LEXIS 365 (Pa. Super. August 24, 2022) (McLaughlin, J.)  The GEO Group, Inc., GEO Corrections and Detentions, LLC., Tiffany Thomas, Community Education Centers Inc., GEO Correctional Holdings Inc., GEO Operations Inc., and Geo Reentry Services, LLC (collectively "GEO") appeal from the order granting Tineika Williams' ("Williams") discovery motion and compelling the production of evidence. GEO challenges the trial court's finding that the evidence was relevant and not privileged. We affirm. The underlying cause of action in this case is one sounding in negligence in connection with a prison inmate's suicide. In February 2018, Williams' son, Nick-A-Leen Bishop Williams ("Decedent") committed suicide in his cell at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility ("Prison") in Delaware County. The Prison is a private prison operated by the GEO Group, Inc. Williams alleges that Decedent covered the window of his cell and the officer on duty, Tiffany Thomas, failed to intercede. Williams filed two suits against the various defendants and the trial court consolidated the cases. In January 2019, Williams served GEO with interrogatories and requests for production of documents. Ultimately, GEO provided all requested materials except a…

PROCEDURE-DISCOVERY-PEER REVIEW-ATTORNEY-CLIENT

September 14th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Procedure

Williams v. Geo Group, 2022 Pa. Super. LEXIS 365 (Pa. Super. August 24, 2022) (McLaughlin, J.)  The GEO Group, Inc., GEO Corrections and Detentions, LLC., Tiffany Thomas, Community Education Centers Inc., GEO Correctional Holdings Inc., GEO Operations Inc., and Geo Reentry Services, LLC (collectively "GEO") appeal from the order granting Tineika Williams' ("Williams") discovery motion and compelling the production of evidence. GEO challenges the trial court's finding that the evidence was relevant and not privileged. We affirm. The underlying cause of action in this case is one sounding in negligence in connection with a prison inmate's suicide. In February 2018, Williams' son, Nick-A-Leen Bishop Williams ("Decedent") committed suicide in his cell at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility ("Prison") in Delaware County. The Prison is a private prison operated by the GEO Group, Inc. Williams alleges that Decedent covered the window of his cell and the officer on duty, Tiffany Thomas, failed to intercede. Williams filed two suits against the various defendants and the trial court consolidated the cases. In January 2019, Williams served GEO with interrogatories and requests for production of documents. Ultimately, GEO provided all requested materials except a…

PROCEDURE-DISCOVERY OF TREATING PHYSICIAN-EX PARTE COMMUNICATION

August 22nd, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Procedure

Mertis v. Dong-Joon Oh, 2022 Pa. Super. LEXIS 322 (August 2, 2022) (Pellegrini, J.)  Bobbi Ann Mertis (Mertis) appeals from the order entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County (trial court) denying her motion to disqualify the law firm representing anesthesiologist Dr. Dong-Joon Oh (Dr. Oh) in this medical malpractice case. The case involves Pa.R.C.P. 4003.6, which deals with how information can be obtained from a treating physician. The issue in this case is simple: can a law firm representing the defendant have ex parte communications with a non-party treating physician without violating Pa.R.C.P. 4003.6? Because such ex parte communications are not permitted under this Rule, we reverse and remand the matter to the trial court. The relevant facts and procedural history of this case are as follows. On August 17, 2015, Mertis underwent knee surgery at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital performed by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Eugene Kim (Dr. Kim). At the beginning of the procedure, Dr. Oh administered a femoral nerve block to anesthetize Mertis's knee area, which she maintains was performed negligently. On August 16, 2017, Mertis filed a complaint against Dr. Oh and the above-captioned…

PROCEDURE-DIVERSITY OF CITIZENSHIP-RULE 21 DISCRETION

August 2nd, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Procedure

Avenatti v. Fox News Network LLC, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 20101 (3rd Cir. July 21, 2022) (Rendell, C.J.)  The Court here considers when a court may drop a party under Rule 21 in order to create diversity.  Apparently, what happened here was that after removal, plaintiff Avenatti added a party so that there would be no diversity of citizenship and the matter would have to be returned to state court.  The Third Circuit said that the District Court did not abuse its discretion in dropping the “spoiler” defendant.  This maintained diversity of citizenship.  The District Court applied the Hensgens factors, and the Third Circuit found this was appropriate.  Rule 21 gave the District Court discretion to drop Hunt, who was the employee of Fox News.  It was Fox News that was sued in a defamation claim.  The Ccourt said that the District Courts may exercise discretionary authority to drop non-diverse parties added without leave of court after removal.  Litigants may not employ procedural tactics to deny the District Court’s ability to reject new parties whose presence would defeat diversity.  Once jurisdiction has vested in the federal court, which it did…

PROCEDURE-EXPERTS-EXPERT REPORTS

July 25th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Procedure

Williams v. Bitler, PA No. 18-01063 (C.P. Lycoming June 29, 2022) (Linhardt, J.) The court mostly granted Lycoming Supply’s motion to exclude plaintiff’s expert testimony, and ultimately for summary judgment.  The court found that plaintiff’s expert dealing with book value was not supported by the evidence and irrelevant to the claims of breach of fiduciary duty. The Court concludes that many portions of the Crumling Report fail to satisfy the Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence regarding expert testimony, and the remainder of the report is not relevant to any surviving issues before the Court. Therefore, the Court precludes the Crumling Report. The first portion of the Crum ling Report, the discussion of "the fairness and reasonableness of book value" generally on pages 5 through 7, is definitive, supported, and within Crumling's expertise. This portion of the Crumling Report addresses general principles of accounting and bookkeeping and frames the issues presented here in these terms, but does not reach any conclusions about the issuesn this case. Therefore, this section of the report would be admissible but only to the extent it supports relevant, admissible opinions regarding the issues in this case.  Crumling's…

PROCEDURE-INTERVENTION-POLITICAL LEADERS

July 7th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Procedure

Berger v. N.C. State Conf. of the NAACP, 2022 U.S. LEXIS 3052 (S. Ct. June 23, 2022) (Gorsuch, J.)  At the heart of this lawsuit lies a challenge to the constitutionality of a North Carolina election law. But the merits of that dispute are not before us, only an antecedent question of civil procedure: Are two leaders of North Carolina’s state legislature entitled to participate in the case under the terms of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2)? Through the General Assembly, the people of North Carolina have authorized the leaders of their legislature to defend duly enacted state statutes against constitutional challenge. Ordinarily, a federal court must respect that kind of sovereign choice, not assemble presumptions against it. Having satisfied the terms of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a)(2), North Carolina’s legislative leaders are entitled to intervene in this litigation. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is Reversed.

PROCEDURE-DISCOVERY-BAD FAITH

May 16th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Procedure, Uncategorized

Butler v. Scranton Manufacturing Company, Pa. No. 18 CV 5167 (C.P. Lackawanna January 28, 2022) (Nealon, J.)  A Dunmore Borough refuse collector, who was riding a garbage truck on its rear "riding step" that allegedly snapped and detached from the truck while moving and caused him to suffer serious head injuries, commenced this products liability action against the manufacturers and distributors of the garbage truck and riding step.  A defendant-manufacturer subpoenaed several borough employees for depositions, and pursuant to Pa.R.Civ.P. 234.1(b)(2), also demanded the production of eleven categories of documents.  Contending that the borough manager acted in bad faith by failing to produce the requested records at his deposition, the manufacturer has filed a motion to compel a second deposition of the borough manager and to impose monetary sanctions upon the borough under Pa.R.Civ.P. 234.5(b).  It also seeks to depose the borough counsel president who happens to be a member of the law firm that represents plaintiff in this matter. The record submitted by the parties reflects that (a) the borough council president contacted plaintiff’s father shortly after this incident to advise him of his son’s injury, and (b) certain…

PROCEDURE-DEPOSITIONS-OPINION QUESTIONS OF NURSE

April 29th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Procedure

Pa. v. Geisinger-Community Med. Ctr., PA No. 20-CV-4775 (C.P. Lackawanna March 4, 2022) (Nealon, J.)  In this malpractice action asserting negligence by various health care providers that caused the minor-plaintiff to develop catastrophic brain injuries and neurological damage during her birth in 2006, plaintiff conducted the discovery deposition of the labor and delivery nurse who is a named defendant.  After that nurse had demonstrated current understanding of reassuring and non-reassuring signs on fetal monitoring strips and defined “tachycardia,” “variable,” “late,” “deep,” and “prolonged” decelerations, and “absent,” “minimum,” “moderate” and “marked” variability, plaintiff’s counsel displayed the fetal monitoring strips to the nurse and attempted to question her regarding any reassuring and non-reassuring findings on those strips.  Following suggestive interjections by her counsel, the nurse, who had worked as a labor and delivery nurse for almost 40 years until her retirement in 2008, stated “I don’t know…that I would be able to interpret it satisfactorily.” When plaintiff’s counsel attempted to explore the nurse’s current ability to review and comprehend the strips, her counsel objected and instructed the nurse not to answer any questions concerning any fetal monitoring strips, thereby precipitating plaintiff’s instant…

PROCEDURE-NEW MATTER-CONNOR OBJECTIONS

April 29th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Procedure

Myers v. Mihail, Pa. No. CV-20-1013 (C.P. Lycoming January 20, 2022) (Tira, J.)  This case, which is out of our office, once again strikes new matter where there are no substantive facts and where the defendant can replead.  Involved here was the collateral source rule; claims of omissions or actions by others; defense is under Mcare Act for past expenses; that the defendant is not a warrantor of a cure.