Monday, September 22, 2014

Lackawanna Pro Bono's Fundraising Gala Set for October 23, 2014


TORT TALK EXPO 2014 SET FOR THIS FRIDAY...WALK-INS WELCOME

PLEASE CONSIDER ATTENDING
 
September 26, 2014
 
TORT TALK EXPO 2014
 
Mohegan Sun Casino and Hotel
Wilkes-Barre, PA
 
(3 Substantive, 1 Ethics Credit)
 
 
 
 
 
PROGRAM TO INCLUDE:
 
 11:30 am - 12:00 pm
REGISTRATION
 
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm 
"Back to School"
A TORT TALK AUTO LAW/CIVIL LITIGATION UPDATE
by
Daniel E.  Cummins, Esq.
FOLEY, COMERFORD & CUMMINS
 
 
 
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm 
BAD FAITH UPDATE
by
 
Timothy G. Lenahan, Esq.
LENAHAN & DEMPSEY
 
Scott B. Cooper, Esq.
SCHMIDT KRAMER 
 
Neil T. O'Donnell, Esq.
O'DONNELL LAW OFFICES

Moderator: Daniel E. Cummins, Esq.
FOLEY, COMERFORD & CUMMINS
 
 
 {BREAK: 2:00 pm - 2:15 pm}
 
 
  2:15 pm - 3:15 pm
MEDICAL HOUR
with
 
Dr. Lucian Bednarz  - Physiatrist - on RSD
and
Dr. Paul Horchos  - Physiatrist - on Post-concussion Syndrome
NORTHEASTERN REHABILITATION ASSOCIATES
 
 
 {BREAK:  3:15 pm - 3:30 pm}
 
 
 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Ethical Considerations
for
Settlement Conferences
and
Jury Selection
 
Moderator:  Paul Oven, Esq.
Dougherty, Leventhal & Price
 
 
JUDICIAL PANELISTS
  
Pennsylvania Superior Judge Court David N. Wecht
Luzerne County Judge Richard M. Hughes,
Lackawanna County Judge A. James Gibbons
U.S. Federal Middle District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion
U.S. Federal Middle District Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick
 
 
 
 
 4:30 pm - 6 pm
POST-SEMINAR COCKTAIL RECEPTION
 
 
THIS YEAR'S CLE SEMINAR WILL BE HELD IN A BALLROOM IN THE NEW HOTEL and SPA AREA AT THE MOHEGAN SUN


TABLE VENDOR SPONSORS TO DATE (Alphabetical):
 
At The Scene

 
Courtside Documents


 
Exhibit A
 


FindLaw/THOMSON REUTERS


 

 Helbig Mediation & Arbitration

 

LexisNexis

 
Love Court Reporting



Medical Legal Reproductions
 
 


Network Deposition Services













Northeastern Rehabilitation Associates












RecordTrak






Robson Forensic




Tanja Adonizio
Personal Vacation Planner
(570) 319-9100



 

The Center for Forensic Economic Studies















The MCS Group


 
As in the past, there will again be door prizes and raffle prizes.
 
 
Vendor tables are still available on first-come, first-serve basis.  Other sponsorship/advertising opportunities available for service providers in the CLE written materials for service providers.  (contact Dan Cummins at dancummins@comcast.net for more details).
 
 
NEW this year will be the availability of a block of HOTEL ROOMS at the NEW Mohegan Sun Casino Hotel and Spa located on the property. 
 
 
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ONLINE
or mail check made out to "Tort Talk" and below form to:
Daniel E. Cummins
Foley, Comerford & Cummins
507 Linden Street
Suite 700
Scranton, PA 18503

NAME: ___________________________________________________

FIRM/COMPANY: _________________________________________

EMAIL: ___________________________________________________





CLICK HERE TO BOOK A HOTEL ROOM
In the meantime, please consider marking your calendar to attend the Tort Talk Expo 2014 on the afternoon of:
 
SEPTEMBER 26, 2014

 

More Hills and Ridges (Actually, No Hills and Ridges - MSJ Granted)

In his recent Memorandum and Order in the case of Schraeder v. Phillips, No. 2011-CV-7585 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Sept. 10, 2014 O’Brien, S.J), Senior Judge Peter J. O’Brien (formerly a member of the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas) granted summary judgment in favor of a Defendant landowner and dismissed a Plaintiff’s Complaint under an application of the hills and ridges doctrine.  

According to the Opinion, at the time of her slip and fall, the Plaintiff was a residential tenant of the Defendant’s at a property in Scranton, Pennsylvania.   The Plaintiff filed a Complaint alleging that she slipped and fell due to hills and ridges of snow and ice while on a designated walkway on the premises.  

In his Opinion, Judge O’Brien reviewed the records and noted that, during her deposition, the Plaintiff described the ice on the steps as appearing as if it “froze like a sheet.”   The court also pointed out that the Plaintiff stated that there were no footstep marks on the ice or any salt on the steps where she fell.  

Judge O’Brien also held that Pennsylvania law did not impose liability upon a possessor of land for physical harm caused by a condition on the land if it is reasonable for the possessor to believe that the condition would be obvious to and discovered by an invitee.   See Op. at p. 5 citing Carrender v. Fitterer, 469 A.2d 120, 124 (Pa. 1983).  The court noted that the Plaintiff’s testimony confirmed that, at the time of her fall, it was sleeting which, in the court’s Opinion, caused an obvious condition of iciness.   Judge O’Brien additionally noted that the Plaintiff’s admission during her deposition testimony indicated that she appreciated the risk when she stepped outside into the adverse weather conditions.  

In any event, as noted above, the court also found that the Plaintiff failed to meet the mandates of the hills and ridges doctrine by failing to show that snow and/or ice had accumulated on the walkway in elevations of such size in character as to unreasonably obstruct travel and constitute a danger to the pedestrian traveling thereon which conditions the property owner had actual or constructive notice.  

Finding that there were no genuine issues of material fact to be decided by a jury on the issues presented, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendants and dismissed the Plaintiff’s Complaint.  

I send thanks to the prevailing defense attorney, John R. Shaffer, Esquire of the Doylestown, Pennsylvania law firm of Snyder & Shaffer, for forwarding this Opinion to my attention.  


Anyone wishing to secure a copy of Judge O’Brien’s Opinion in this Lackawanna County hills and ridges case, may contact me at dancummins@comcast.net.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

REMINDER: TORT TALK EXPO WILL BE LOCATED IN NEW HOTEL AREA OF THE MOHEGAN SUN CASINO






For those of you attending Friday's (September 26th) Tort Talk Expo 2014 CLE Seminar, please note that the seminar will NOT be in the same downstairs area ballroom as in past years.


Rather, the Seminar will take place in a ballroom known as "THE CONVENTION CENTER" in the NEW  MOHEGAN SUN HOTEL AREA located adjacent to the casino.



Self-parking is available by turning right at the third Stop sign once you enter the casino complex (not the third right turn but the THIRD STOP SIGN).  You may also reach Valet parking by continuing down that same road further on after you have made that right hand turn at the third Stop Sign.

Note that if you have booked a room to stay overnight, you are permitted to leave your luggage with the Concierge Desk until check-in time arrives.


Also, weather permitting, the Cocktail Reception following the Seminar will be held on an outdoor terrace complete with a fire pit.  If the weather does not permit an outside Cocktail Reception, the Reception will take place in Breakers, as usual.


Friday, September 19, 2014

TORT TALK EXPO 2014 A WEEK AWAY - REGISTER NOW


 
September 26, 2014
 
TORT TALK EXPO 2014
 
Mohegan Sun Casino and Hotel
Wilkes-Barre, PA
 
(3 Substantive, 1 Ethics Credit)
 
 
 
 
 
PROGRAM TO INCLUDE:
 
 11:30 am - 12:00 pm
REGISTRATION
 
 
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm 
"Back to School"
A TORT TALK AUTO LAW/CIVIL LITIGATION UPDATE
by
Daniel E.  Cummins, Esq.
FOLEY, COMERFORD & CUMMINS
 
 
 
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm 
BAD FAITH UPDATE
by
 
Timothy G. Lenahan, Esq.
LENAHAN & DEMPSEY
 
Scott B. Cooper, Esq.
SCHMIDT KRAMER 
 
Neil T. O'Donnell, Esq.
O'DONNELL LAW OFFICES

Moderator: Daniel E. Cummins, Esq.
FOLEY, COMERFORD & CUMMINS
 
 
 {BREAK: 2:00 pm - 2:15 pm}
 
 
  2:15 pm - 3:15 pm
MEDICAL HOUR
with
 
Dr. Lucian Bednarz  - Physiatrist - on RSD
and
Dr. Paul Horchos  - Physiatrist - on Post-concussion Syndrome
NORTHEASTERN REHABILITATION ASSOCIATES
 
 
 {BREAK:  3:15 pm - 3:30 pm}
 
 
 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Ethical Considerations
for
Settlement Conferences
and
Jury Selection
 
Moderator:  Paul Oven, Esq.
Dougherty, Leventhal & Price
 
 
JUDICIAL PANELISTS
  
Pennsylvania Superior Judge Court David N. Wecht
Luzerne County Judge Richard M. Hughes,
Lackawanna County Judge A. James Gibbons
U.S. Federal Middle District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion
U.S. Federal Middle District Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick
 
 
 
 
 4:30 pm - 6 pm
POST-SEMINAR COCKTAIL RECEPTION
 
 
THIS YEAR'S CLE SEMINAR WILL BE HELD IN A BALLROOM IN THE NEW HOTEL and SPA AREA AT THE MOHEGAN SUN


TABLE VENDOR SPONSORS TO DATE (Alphabetical):
 
 
At The Scene

 
Courtside Documents


 
Exhibit A
 


FindLaw/THOMSON REUTERS


 

  
Helbig Mediation & Arbitration



 

LexisNexis







Love Court Reporting


 


Medical Legal Reproductions
 

 


Network Deposition Services








 

Northeastern Rehabilitation Associates



 



RecordTrak









Robson Forensic



Tanja Adonizio
Personal Vacation Planner
(570) 319-9100








The Center for Forensic Economic Studies



 





The MCS Group


 
As in the past, there will again be door prizes and raffle prizes.
 
 
Vendor tables are still available on first-come, first-serve basis.  Other sponsorship/advertising opportunities available for service providers in the CLE written materials for service providers.  (contact Dan Cummins at dancummins@comcast.net for more details).
 
 
NEW this year will be the availability of a block of HOTEL ROOMS at the NEW Mohegan Sun Casino Hotel and Spa located on the property. 
 
 
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ONLINE
or mail check made out to "Tort Talk" and below form to:
Daniel E. Cummins
Foley, Comerford & Cummins
507 Linden Street
Suite 700
Scranton, PA 18503

NAME: ___________________________________________________

FIRM/COMPANY: _________________________________________

EMAIL: ___________________________________________________





CLICK HERE TO BOOK A HOTEL ROOM
In the meantime, please consider marking your calendar to attend the Tort Talk Expo 2014 on the afternoon of:
 
SEPTEMBER 26, 2014

 

Pa.R.E. 611(c)(2) Amended, Effective Immediately

Here is a LINK to the amended Pa.R.E. 611(c)(2) which governs the court's discretion to control the direct and cross-examinations of witnesses at trial.  The amendment is effective immediately.

The amendments pertain to the scope of the court's discretion to allow leading questions to be posed to a hostile witness.

It would appear that this amendment may have more impact in criminal trials, but would also be applicable in a civil trial whenever a witness may properly be deemed to be hostile to the questioning attorney's client.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Defense Verdict in Post-Koken UM Case Upheld

In Senese v. Liberty Mutual, Inc., No. 13-5139 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 19, 2014 Schiller, J.),the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied a Plaintiff's post-trial motions after a defense verdict in a UM jury trial.

The Plaintiff alleged that he sustained personal injuries when an unidentified other driver caused the Plaintiff to crash into a parked car.

After trial at which the liability issues were bifurcated from the damages issues, the jury found that an unidentified motorist did indeed exist and was negligent.  However, the jury also found that the unidentified driver's negligence was not the factual cause of the accident.

In post-trial motions the court found that there was no error in precluding the insured’s expert accident reconstructionist's testimony since it was not deemed reliable nor would it aid the jury under the Daubert analysis.  The trial court also held that it was not error to hold a Daubert hearing on the admissibility of expert evidence where, as here, the court could make an admissibility determination on the basis of the content of the expert's report and the bases for the opinion listed in the expert's report.

The court also found no error in its allowing the Plaintiff to testify that the unidentified driver was traveling at a high rate of speed and accelerating but precluding the Plaintiff from testifying how fast the other drive was going in terms of miles per hour.  The court noted that there was no foundation to support allowing the Plaintiff to give more specific testimony on speed.

The Court also found that, under the case presented, there was a reasonable basis for the jury to find that the unidentified vehicle did not cause the accident and that the accident would have occurred anyway.  As stated, post-trial motions were denied.

Anyone wishing to review this Opinion, may click this LINK

I send thanks to Attorney Scott Cooper of the Harrisburg law firm of Schmidt Kramer for bringing this case to my attention.  Please note that Attorney Cooper will be a featured presenter at the upcoming Tort Talk Expo September 26, 2014.  Please click HERE to Register online or shoot an email to dancummins@comcast.net.