Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Product Manufacturer and Med Mal Defendants Found Not to be Joint Tortfeasors

In the case of Bachtell v. General Mills, Inc., No. 1:18-CV-02292 (M.D. Pa. Aug. 25, 2020 Rambo, J.), the court held that a manufacturer of an allegedly defective product may not join the Plaintiff’s treating physician in the case on a third-party contribution claim predicated on medical malpractice allegations.
The court noted that a tortfeasor that originally caused an injury and a physician who subsequently aggravates or causes a new injury are not considered to be joint tortfeasors under the law. In so ruling, the court stated that Pennsylvania does not follow the Restatement (Second) of Torts §457 (1965). 

Judge Rambo otherwise indicated that medical malpractice claims and products liability claims in this matter involved different duties and distinct evidence. 

Significantly, the court found that the Plaintiff did not allege that the manufacturer was liable for any of the harm that was allegedly only caused by the subsequent medical malpractice. 

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.  Judge Rambo's companion Order can be viewed HERE.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.

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