Legal Updates

February 2016 Trivial Defect Update
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The Court of Appeals recently gave personal injury practitioners some more certainty on a matter of uncertainties.  Please excuse the convoluted introduction but it is apt as the Court’s ruling in Hutchinson v. Sheridan Hill House Corporation, 26 N.Y.3d 66, 19 N.Y.S.3d 802 (2015) has given much needed clarity to the so-called “trivial defect” doctrine.… Continue reading February 2016 Trivial Defect Update

January 2016 Serious Injury Update
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November 19, 2015 – The Pennsylvania Superior Court has held that the statute of limitations period cannot begin to run on a limited tort plaintiff until he or she knows or reasonably should know that he or she has sustained the requisite injury.  Varner-Mort v. Kapfhammer, 2015 Pa. Super. 14 (Jan. 21, 2015). Timeline: ­Varner-Mort… Continue reading January 2016 Serious Injury Update

January 2016 Animal Law Update
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September 22, 2015 – The New York State Court of Appeals has held that an individual injured by a pet, other than a farm animal, may not institute a negligence cause of action against the owner of the animal based on improper supervision of the animal.  However, consistent with long standing precedent, if the domesticated… Continue reading January 2016 Animal Law Update

June 2015 Subrogation Ethics Update
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To sign or not to sign? That is the question…. With the surge in subrogation claims that has occurred in the last ten years insurance companies are seeking protection from a potential subrogation or lien interest down the road.  Not only do many require plaintiffs to sign a release with “hold harmless” language in it… Continue reading June 2015 Subrogation Ethics Update

June 2015 Foreign Object Update
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New York State Court of Appeals clarifies what constitutes a foreign object for purposes of the discovery rule. Under CPLR 214-a an injured plaintiff can avoid the imposition of the normal two (2) years and six (6) month statute of limitations and specifically “where the cause of action is based upon the discovery of a… Continue reading June 2015 Foreign Object Update

August 2014 Expert Discovery Update
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The Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure (“Pa RCP”), Pa. RCP 4003.5, has been amended to codify the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling in Barrick v. Holy Spirit Hospital of the Sisters of Christian Charity, 91 A.3d 680, 689 (Pa. 2014). As reported here previously, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, en banc, made a firm statement intended to… Continue reading August 2014 Expert Discovery Update

August 2014 Subrogation Update
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The Second Circuit Court of Appeals finds that New York, General Obligations Law, GOL § 5-335, is not preempted by ERISA as the law regulates insurance. As we have previously written, here, in the last decade health insurers have, more than ever, pursued injured people for money they have recovered in personal injury claims.  This… Continue reading August 2014 Subrogation Update

June 2014 Medical Errors Update
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Consumer Reports learns that medical errors are linked to 440,000 deaths each year. When ex-NASA Chief Toxicologist’s John James 19 year-old son died after doctors at two hospitals treated him negligently he decided to dedicate his life to improving care in hospitals.  He went on to create Patient Safety America, an organization that educates people… Continue reading June 2014 Medical Errors Update

June 2014 Contingent Fee Update
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The Fourth Department of the Appellate Division of New York Supreme Court (as well as the other three departments) has modified the fee calculation rule in personal injury cases. Traditionally, a plaintiff’s law firm pays the costs of proceeding with a case upfront on behalf of the client.  When the case resolves by settlement, trial… Continue reading June 2014 Contingent Fee Update

February 2014 Judicial Code of Conduct Update
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Pennsylvania adopts new Judicial Code of Conduct that will take effect July 1, 2014. These new rules closely mimic the rules of the American Bar Association (ABA) which were implemented about seven years ago.  They are designed to solve problems not envisioned years ago (social media, mental health issues, new protected classes, etc.) as well… Continue reading February 2014 Judicial Code of Conduct Update