Monday, November 11, 2019

Pennsylvania Superior Court Rules that Future Medical Expenses Claims Need Not Be Reduced by Act 6

Cost Containment?

For the first time in a precedential Opinion, the Pennsylvania Superior Court addressed, in the case of Farese v. Robinson, 2019 Pa. Super. 336 (Pa. Super. Nov. 8, 2019 Lazarus, J., Kunselman, J., and Colins, J.)(Op. by Colins, J.), the somewhat recurring issue of whether a claim for future medical expenses in an automobile accident case must be reduced in accordance with the cost containment provisions under Act 6 (75 Pa.C.S.A. Section 1797) of Pennsylvania's Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL).

In this motor vehicle accident case, the jury entered a verdict in excess of $2.5 million dollars, of which $900,000 was an award for future medical expenses.

In the end, the Court in Farese held that future medical expenses did not need to be reduced in accordance with Act 6 before being presented to the jury.  See p. 21-26 of Opinion.

Although the Pennsylvania Superior Court noted that it came to its decision "pursuant to [its] review of all available writings" or decisions on this issue, the Court did not review the decision by Judge Terrence R. Nealon in the Lackawanna County case of Orzel v. Morgan (in which I was the defense counsel).  Here's a LINK to a 2011 Tort Talk blog post in which the Orzel case was reviewed and analyzed along with the Kansky case out of the Federal Middle District Court of Pennsylvania.  It is questionable at best as to whether the Pennsylvania Superior Court would have reached a different decision in the Farese case even if they had reviewed the same as part of their analysis.

Overall, the Court is Farese concluded that the limitations placed upon medical providers in terms of what they could charge for treatment of motor vehicle accident injuries (i.e., Act 6 reduced amounts) simply did not apply to claims for future medical expenses.

Anyone wishing to review the Farese decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney Scott B. Cooper of the Harrisburg, PA office of Schmidt Kramer for bringing this decision to my attention.

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