December 15th, 2022 by Rieders Travis in Damages

Mertz v. Nippenose Valley Village, Inc., Pa. No. CV-21-00178 (C.P. Lycoming November 21, 2022).  The court finds the complaint sufficient to support claim for punitive damages.  The complaint alleges The Court finds that Plaintiff’s Complaint contains sufficient facts to support her claim for punitive damages at this stage. The Complaint alleges that numerous issues of a similar nature occurred consistently over nearly two years while Decedent was a resident at the Defendant Facility, including reoccurring falls, blood sugar fluctuations and infections. Plaintiff’s allegations of corporate negligence are based on multiple theories that could support a finding that Defendants knew of, or were at least reckless regarding, the risks of harm to Decedent and yet took no (or insufficient) action to address those risks of harm. In particular, Plaintiff avers that the reoccurring issues were due to deliberate understaffing, a failure to train staff to ensure known problems did not reoccur, and a failure to rectify issues that inspections of the Defendant Facility had recently revealed. If Plaintiff proves the facts as alleged in the Complaint, a jury could conclude, for instance, that Decedent’s risk of falling was known and obvious, and that Defendants’ failure to prevent her from falling over a dozen times went beyond mere negligence and constituted at least a reckless failure to prevent further falls through improved staffing, policy, or training.

Attorney Cliff Rieders

Attorney Cliff RiedersCliff Rieders is a Nationally Board Certified Trial Lawyer practicing personal injury law. A large part of his practice involves multi-district litigation, including cases related to pharmaceuticals, vitamin supplements and medical devices. He is admitted in several state and federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. Rieders is the past regional president of the Federal Bar Association and is a life member of the distinguished American Law Institute, which promulgates proposed rules adopted by many state courts. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. As a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, he served on the Board for 15 years.

Not only has Rieders held many highly esteemed, leadership positions, he authored legislation related to the Patient Safety Authority and the Mcare Act, which governs medical and hospital liability actions in Pennsylvania. He authored texts upon which both practitioners and judges rely, including Pennsylvania Malpractice Laws and Forms, and Financial Responsibility Law Issues in Pennsylvania, the latter governing auto and truck collisions in Pennsylvania. In addition, he wrote several books on the practice of law in Pennsylvania regarding wrongful death and survivor actions, insurance bad faith, legal malpractice claims and worker rights, among others. Rieders also serves as a resource to practitioners as a regular speaker for Celesq, an arm of the world’s largest legal publisher, Thomson Reuters West Publishing.

As recognition of his wide range of contribution to his profession and of his dedication to protecting the rights of his clients, he received numerous awards, among them the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, the Milton D. Rosenberg Award, the B’nai B’rith Justice Award, and awards of recognition from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. [ Attorney Bio ]



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