Monday, August 5, 2013

Judge Williamson of Monroe County Grants Summary Judgment in Limited Tort Case

In his recent decision in the case of Bachman v. Lassell, PICS Case No. 13-0989 (C.P. Monroe Co. Apr. 15, 2013, Williamson, J.), Judge David J. Williamson of the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas granted summary judgment to a Defendant in a limited tort case after finding that reasonable minds on a jury would not differ on a conclusion that the Plaintiff’s injuries did not result in a serious impairment of a bodily function.  

According to a report on the case, the court noted that, after the accident, Plaintiff did not immediately seek out medical attention.   The day after the collision, the Plaintiff drove himself to the hospital and was treated and released under a diagnosis of a lumbar sprain and contusion.  

Thereafter, an MRI revealed a mild disc herniation and bulge.   The Plaintiff visited a doctor four times over a three month period and attended six sessions of physical therapy.  

The Plaintiff’s deposition testimony indicated that he alleged ongoing neck and back pain with headaches.   The Plaintiff testified that he was restricted in his activities at times, but did not take any medication, and was not disabled.   The evidence established that the Plaintiff was restricted by his doctors from lifting, pushing, or pulling more than 10 pounds for six weeks.  

The Plaintiff worked as a tow truck driver and missed two and half months of work.   He also never returned to an auto repair shop where he had worked periodically.

The court ruled that, despite the Plaintiff’s subjective complaints, there was no objective medical proof provided that the Plaintiff’s injuries amounted to a substantial impairment of a bodily function.   Accordingly, the court granted partial summary judgment barring the Plaintiff from seeking non-economic damages for pain and suffering due to the Plaintiff’s failure to offer evidence of a substantial impairment of a bodily function.  

Anyone desiring a copy of this decision, may contact the Instant Case Service of the Pennsylvania Law Weekly by calling 1-800-276-7427, provide the above PICS Case No and pay a small fee.

Source:  “Digest of Recent Opinions,” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (July 9, 2013). 

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