Monday, June 27, 2011

Another Trial Court Decision Allowing Fibromyalgia Claim to Proceed to a Jury

In the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas recently joined the growing number of Pennsylvania trial courts allowing a Plaintiff to present expert testimony relating an alleged fibromyalgia condition to a traumatic event.

In the case of Getz v. Bennett, 54 Leh. L. J. 495 (Jan. 31, 2011), the court denied a Defendant’s Motion to Bar a Plaintiff’s Expert’s Opinion that a motor vehicle accident caused the Plaintiff’s fibromyalgia condition.

The court in Getz found that the methodology of the expert was generally accepted in the scientific community. The opinion was also found to be based upon physical and neurological examination of the Plaintiff, her medical history, and the sequence of events leading to the onset of the symptoms. The court also referenced literature linking trauma and fibromyalgia. It appears from the opinion that the court was also influence by the lack of any fibromyalgia symptoms before the subject accident.

Anyone desiring a copy of the Getz decision may contact me at dancummins@comcast.net.


Here are links to other Tort Talk posts on this issue that show that the emerging trend of the Pennsylvania trial courts is to allow this form of expert testimony on the grounds that the methodology that underlies the expert's conclusion has gained general acceptance in the relevant scientific community:


http://www.torttalk.com/2009/07/trial-courts-continue-to-struggle-with.html

http://www.torttalk.com/2009/09/expert-testimony-on-fibromyalgia.html

http://www.torttalk.com/2010/10/judge-sibum-of-monroe-county-allows-for.html


Here's a link to a prior Pennsylvania Law Weekly article of mine on the topic, entitled "Fibromyalgia as a Diagnosis in Personal Injury Cases":

http://www.jdsupra.com/post/documentViewer.aspx?fid=7b1fc59d-4789-4f9e-be96-f157818c6d80
 
 
Based upon the above, it appears the the overwhelming current trend is that the trial courts have been willing to allow expert opinion linking a plaintiff's alleged fibromyalgia condition to a traumatic event to proceed ahead for a jury's consideration.

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