Thursday, June 3, 2010

Federal Middle District Court Judge Munley Allows Nurse to Testify on Causation in Trucking Accident Case

In a recent May 28, 2010 Memorandum and Order in the case of Earls v. Sexton and Landstar Ranger, Inc., No. 3:09cv950 (M.D.Pa. 2010 Munley, J.), Judge James M. Munley of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania ruled that a nurse would be allowed to testify on causation at trial in a trucking accident case.

The Plaintiff in this matter allegedly sustained physical and psychiatric damages as a result of an accident with a tractor trailer. The Plaintiff identified a psychiatric nurse practitioner as a witness in support of her claims for psychological damages. The nurse had treated the Plaintiff both before and after the accident and was prepared to testify that the accident had worsened the Plaintiff's condition.

Judge Munley denied the defense motion in limine to preclude the nurse's testimony at trial. In doing so, rejected the defense's reliance upon the Pennsylvania Professional Nursing Law, 63 Pa.C.S. 211, and noted that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had previously rejected the same argument and ruled in the case of Freed v. Geisinger Medical Center, 971 A.2d 1202, 1208 (Pa. 2009) that nurses could testify as experts where properly qualified to do so. As such, Judge Munley denied the defense motion in limine.

An analysis of the Freed opinion here on Tort Talk can be found at this link:

The prevailing Plaintiff's attorney in this Earls decision by Judge Munley was Attorney James Conaboy of the Scranton, Pennsylvania law firm of Abrahamsen, Conaboy & Abrahamsen.

Anyone desiring a copy of this Opinion and Order may contact me at

Thanks to Attorney Paul Oven of the Moosic, Pennsylvania law firm of Dougherty, Leventhal & Price for bringing this case to my attention.

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