Friday, March 4, 2022

Court Rules that Personal Injury Claims By Parents of a Convicted Criminal Are Barred

In the case of Dinardo v. Kohler, No. 1905 EDA 2020 (Pa. Super. Jan. 26, 2022 Stabile, J., Bowes, J., Musmanno, J.) (Op. by Stabile, J.), the Superior Court reversed in part a lower court’s decision on Preliminary Objections in a case where the parents of a convicted criminal asserted claims against allegedly negligent medical personnel for not preventing their child’s criminal behavior.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court noted that the “no felony conviction recovery rule” is a subpart of the in pari delicto ("in equal part") doctrine, and that the application of this law precluded recovery under the case presented.

The court otherwise noted that the Pennsylvania courts do not assist convicted felons in collecting money damages that would not have occurred absent the criminal conviction.  The Pennsylvania Superior Court further noted that Pennsylvania follows the common law principle that a person should not be permitted to benefit through wrongdoing, particularly through criminal activity. 

As such, Pennsylvania law prevents a Plaintiff from recovering losses which flow from those criminal acts. The court otherwise stated that it would violate public policy to permit a person convicted of a serious crime to collect damages that would not have occurred absent the criminal conviction.

The court additionally noted that a criminal’s emotional distress from being convicted, along with the family’s litigation expenses due to such crimes, are not recoverable under Pennsylvania law.  A Plaintiff’s attempt to call such damages “compensation” is immaterial, since those alleged damages flow from the criminal conduct of the Plaintiff and, therefore, are not recoverable.

The court also noted that there is no medical malpractice exception to the in pari delicto doctrine.

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

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

Source of Images:  Photo by Scott Rodgerson on


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.