PROCEDURE-VENUE-FORUM NON CONVENIENS

January 11th, 2023 by Rieders Travis in Procedure

Est. of Quigley v. Pottstown Hosp., LLC, 2022 Pa. Super. LEXIS 473 (December 1, 2022) (Lazarus, J.) The Estate of Rita Quigley (Decedent), by its representative Edward Clemson, Executor (Plaintiff), appeals from the order of the Court of Common Pleas Philadelphia County sustaining the preliminary objections of Pottstown Hospital, LLC, Tower Health, and John Does 1-10 (collectively, Defendants) to Plaintiff's first amended complaint and transferring venue of the matter to Montgomery County. Because Defendant Tower Health's acts are more than sufficient to establish venue in Philadelphia County, we reverse and remand.  Decedent was a resident of Chestnut Knoll, an assisted living facility located in Boyertown, Berks County, Pennsylvania. Decedent suffered from dementia and cognitive impairment. On October 28, 2020, Decedent was admitted to Pottstown Hospital. Pottstown Hospital is located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and is owned by Tower Health. Tower Health's registered office and principal place of business are located in West Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania. On November 1, 2020, the Decedent was discharged and transported from Pottstown Hospital to PowerBack Rehabilitation Center, which is located in the Phoenixville area. Upon the Decedent's arrival at PowerBack, PowerBack's medical staff conducted a…

PROCEDURE-JURISDICTION-LONG ARM

December 15th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Procedure

PROCEDURE-JURISDICTION-LONG ARM- Merino v. Repak, B.V., 2022 Pa. Super. LEXIS 482 (December 6, 2022) (McCaffery, J.) The lower court had concluded that Repak, Individually, had sufficient minimum contacts with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to justify the court’s exercise of specific jurisdiction.  Repak was the manufacturer of a machine sold by its distributor, Reiser.  While using the meat-packing machine, appellee Merino suffered a substantial injury to her left index finger.  A complaint was filed against Repak and Reiser.  The question was whether there was sufficient minimum contact in Pennsylvania.  The court found such sufficient minimum contacts existed.  Jurisdictional case law does not require a traditional principal/agent relationship in order to consider whether one company’s actions may be attributed to another company.  Rather, the focus is on whether the foreign defendant “purposely availed” itself of the protections of the forum.  A defendant may be subject to jurisdiction without entering the forum.  For example, where manufacturers or distributors seek to serve a given state’s market.  The principal inquiry in cases of this sort is whether the defendant’s activities manifest an intention to submit to the power of a sovereign.  In other words, a…

PROCEDURE-SUMMARY JUDGMENT-ZIP-LINING-RECKLESSNESS

December 1st, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Procedure

Monroe v. CBH20, LP, 2022 Pa. Super. LEXIS 459 (November 21, 2022).  Aisha Monroe initiated this action against Camelback by a complaint that was transferred to Monroe County from Philadelphia County upon the stipulation of the parties. The initial complaint contained a single count of negligence, alleging that Ms. Monroe was injured as the result of Camelback's, inter alia, failure "to use reasonable prudence and care to take care of the customers' safety complaints" and its "[a]cting in disregard of the rights of safety of [Ms. Monroe] and others similarly situated[.]"Camelback filed preliminary objections to strike the above-quoted allegations as "improper, broad and vague." Although the complaint alleged in several places that Camelback acted recklessly and with a conscious disregard of Ms. Monroe's safety, Camelback did not raise preliminary objections in the nature of a more specific pleading regarding the factual underpinnings of the allegations of recklessness. Nor did it object in the nature of a demurrer by contending that the allegations of recklessness were legally insufficient. Ms. Monroe mooted Camelback's preliminary objections by filing an amended complaint again raising a single count of negligence. We hold that the trial court’s adjudication of Camelback’s…

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.