Sunday, August 14, 2011

Another Lackawanna County Decision by Judge Mazzoni in Favor of Consolidation of Post-Koken Claims

On August 5, 2011, in the case of Knott v. Walters and Nationwide Mutual Automobile Ins. Co., No. 2010 CV 4745 (Lacka. Co. Aug. 5, 2011, Mazzoni, J.),  Judge Robert A. Mazzoni of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas issued another decision, by way of a detailed Order, in favor of the consolidation of post-Koken cases, at least through the pre-trial stage.  In the Order, the court denied the preliminary objections filed by the tortfeasor defendant claiming, in part, a misjoinder of actions under the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure.

In so ruling, Judge Mazzoni cited to his own previous Opinion on the same issue in the case of Richards v. McPhillips and Progressive Ins. Co., No. 2010 CV 7020 (Lacka. Co. June 10, 2011, Mazzoni, J.) as well as the Opinion of fellow Lackawanna County Judge Terrence Nealon in the case of Bingham v. Voswistilo, 2010 CV 6026 (Lacka. Co. April 8, 2011 Nealon, J.).

The majority rule in Lackawanna County on this issue is that the cases will remain consolidated at least up through the time of trial.  In their respective decisions, both Judge Mazzoni and Judge Nealon expressly state that, at the time of trial, the assigned trial judge shall retain the discretion to address motions to bifurcate or sever the claims presented.

I thank the prevailing Plaintiff's attorney in the Knott case, Attorney Doug Yazinski of the Pisanchyn Law Firm, for bringing the Knott decision to my attention.

Anyone desiring a copy of any of the decisions noted above may contact me at dancummins@comcast.net.

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