Friday, May 7, 2021

Motion to Reinstate Punitive Damages in a Med Mal Case on the Eve of Trial Denied

In the case of Keyes v. Abington Manor, No. 16-CV-3024 (C.P. Lacka. Co. March 26, 2021 Nealon, J.), the court issued a detailed Order deciding a Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend a Complaint in order to reinstate a claim for punitive damages in this medical professional liability action which was scheduled to commence trial ten (10) days after the motion was filed.

The case involved claims of professional negligence against a skilled nursing facility.

Earlier in the same case, the same court (but different judge) had sustained Preliminary Objections to the Plaintiff’s claims for punitive damages. However, in that Court Order it was indicated that, if after the completion of discovery there was evidence that warranted punitive damages, the Plaintiff could file a motion to amend the Complaint to include such claims.

After reviewing the law of Pennsylvania as well as the MCARE Act regarding punitive damages, the court noted that the Defendants would have to be chargeable with willful, wanton, or reckless conduct in order for punitive damages to apply. After reviewing the record before the court, the court did not find such evidence to support these types of claims.

As the court found that the record did not contain sufficient evidence to demonstrate a triable issue in order to submit the punitive damages claim to a jury, the Plaintiff’s Motion seeking to amend the Complaint to reinstate claims for punitive damages was denied.

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

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