Tuesday, December 5, 2017

New Trial Ordered Given Statute of Limitations Issues

In the case of Shiflett v. Lehigh Valley Health Network, Inc., 2017 Pa. Super. 354 (Pa. Super. Nov. 9, 2017 Solano, Scogan, and Platt, J.J.) (Op. by Solano, J.), the court upheld a liability verdict in favor of a Plaintiff in a medical malpractice case but sent the case back for a new trial on certain issues of damages.  

In its decision, the court noted that the Plaintiffs were improperly allowed to amend their Complaint to assert a new cause of action after the statute of limitations had expired.  

The Superior Court found that the new theory was based on a different time period and different facts that were not at issue in the original Complaint.  

In this regard, the Superior Court noted that vague, generalized negligence allegations could not establish a relation back to the original Complaint, particularly where, as here, the Defendants properly filed Preliminary Objections to those allegations.  

The Superior court sent the case back to the trial court for a new trial on damages as the general verdict on damages that was entered in the first trial could not be separated into amounts that were related to the proper time periods not barred by the statute of limitations.  The court noted that the new trial would be limited to damages because the error on the time barred claims did not affect the liability issues on the other claims.

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

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of Reed Smith and the writer of the Drug and Device Law blog for bringing this case to my attention.  



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