Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A Nice Primer on the Dead Man's Rule

A nice primer on the Dead Man’s Rule is provided by the court in the case of Davis v. Wright, July Term 2015, PICS Case No. 1828 (C.P. Phila. Co. Aug. 2, 2016 Robinson, J.) in which the court recommended its decision granting summary judgment in favor of the Defendants be affirmed on appeal on the basis of the application of the Dead Man’s Rule.

In its Opinion, the court reviewed the parameters of the Dead Man’s Act, 42 Pa. C.S.A. §5930, and also reviewed ways in which that defense could be waived.  

The court found that the defense was not waived in this matter and, instead, applied to support the entry of summary judgment in favor of the Defendants in a car accident case in which the Defendant died. 

The court agreed with the defense position that the Plaintiff witnesses were incompetent as witnesses under the Dead Man’s Act and that, without the testimony of these witnesses, the Plaintiffs were unable to carry of burden of proof of negligence at trial.  

The court also rejected the Plaintiff’s attempt to rely on the testimony of the investigating officer, who was not a witness to the accident.  


Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK. 


Source:   “Instant Case Digest,” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (September 2, 2016).


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