Thursday, December 9, 2021

A Word of Caution: Put All Objections On the Record At Trial, And Be Specific on the Nature of the Objection


In the case of Frisch v. James River Ins. Co., No. 1520 EDA 2020 (Pa. Super. Oct. 20, 2021McLaughlin, J., King, J., Pellegrini, J.) (Op. by King, J.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled in a post-Koken case that a Defendant was not entitled to a new trial based upon the trial court’s failure to re-read to the jury the standard instructions for both pre-existing conditions and factual cause.

The Superior Court noted in its Opinion that, based upon the agreement of litigants, the court re-read to the jury only the instructions for pre-existing conditions after a request for the same was made by the jury during their deliberations.

However, the court noted that the Defendant had not objected at the time of trial regarding the trial court’s failure to read the factual cause instruction as well.

During the post-trial proceedings, Defendant argued that the jury might have been confused by the instructions for pre-existing conditions in the absence of the instruction regarding factual cause.

The Court rejected the request for a new trial and noted, in part, that Pa.R.C.P. 227(b) requires that "all exceptions to the jury charge shall be taken before the jury retires."    The appellate court noted that the failure of a party to raise a specific objection on the record results in a waiver of the issue.

The court otherwise addressed delay damages in this case as well and reviewed the current status of the law in Pennsylvania in that regard.

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

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Nov. 16, 2021).


Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova from www.pexels.com.

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