Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Evidence of Prior Accidents and Injuries Precluded as Irrelevant to Claimed Injuries

In his recent decision in the case of Piczon v. Moody, No. 2012 - CV - 3634(C.P. Lacka. Co. April 6, 2017 Nealon, J.), Judge Terrence R. Nealon of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas addressed a Motion In Limine filed by a Plaintiff seeking to preclude the defense medical witness from referencing the Plaintiff’s prior complaints and treatment involving her low back, hip, leg, knee, foot, and ankle in an automobile accident case where the Plaintiff was seeking to recover damages for alleged injuries to her neck and head.  

The court granted the Motion and found that, to be admissible, evidence of previous medical complaints voiced by a Plaintiff must be connected to the Complaints at issue in the pending case.   Where such evidence is not connected to the Complaints at issue, the court will exclude the same as irrelevant and prejudicial. 

Here, the court found that the Plaintiff did not seek to recover any damages in the subject litigation for injuries to her low back, hip, knee, leg, foot or ankle.   The court therefore found that the Plaintiff’s prior complaints and treatment relating to those body parts were irrelevant and unduly prejudicial.  As such, Plaintiff’s Motion In Limine to preclude that evidence was granted.  

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


For another recent decision from Judge Nealon along the same lines, see the case of Familetti v. Thyssen Krupp Elevator Corp., No. 2013-CV-1486 (C.P. Lacka. Co. April 27, 2017 Nealon, J.) by clicking HERE.

In Familetti v. Thyssen Krupp Elevator, Judge Nealon of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas addressed a Motion In Limine filed by a Plaintiff seeking to preclude any reference to her prior accidents and associated treatment under an argument that such evidence was irrelevant, confusing, misleading, and prejudicial as there was no evidence presented to prove that the prior accidents and injuries caused or contributed to any of the Plaintiff’s current complaints at issue in this trial.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff alleged neck and hand injuries as a result of an elevator accident in 2011.  

During discovery, it was disclosed that the Plaintiff had a prior motor vehicle accident in 1991 or 1992 as a result of which she sustained a whiplash injury to her neck that resolved after six (6) weeks of treatment. The Plaintiff was also involved in another prior accident in 2001 or 2002 and sustained injuries to her low back and knee for which she received chiropractic treatment.   The Plaintiff additionally had a prior fall down event in 2009 and was treated for left arm pain with one (1) emergency room visit.  

The court noted that, in the defense IME report, the IME doctor noted that the Plaintiff’s past medical history was generally benign.   It was additionally noted that the defense medical expert did not suggest that the Plaintiff’s current complaints were in any way related to her prior traumatic events.  

The court reviewed the rule of law that, to be admissible, evidence of previous medical complaints must be connected to the complaints at issue and, if they are not, the trial court should exclude the evidence as irrelevant and prejudicial.   Based upon this law, the court granted the Plaintiff’s Motion In Limine.  

No comments:

Post a Comment