Monday, November 21, 2022

Judge Nealon of Lackawanna County Rejects Request to Have Settled Defendants on Verdict Slip

In the case of Williams v. Glenmaura Senior Living at Montage, LLC, No. 21-CV-1494 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Nov. 7, 2022 Nealon, J.), the court addressed a motion by certain Defendants in a medical malpractice case for reconsideration of the court’s previous Order granting certain settling Defendants’ Motion for Discontinuance from the case by virtue of the settling Defendants’ Joint Tortfeasor Agreements.

One of the non-settling Defendants wished to keep the settling Defendants in the case for purposes of the trial.

Judge Terrence R. Nealon
Lackawanna County

In his Opinion, Judge Terrence R. Nealon of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas confirmed that, in Pennsylvania, there is no absolute right to have settling Co-Defendants placed on a verdict slip.

Rather, under the applicable standard of review, the trial court is required to determine whether any evidence of a settling Co-Defendant’s liability exists before deciding whether to put that Co-Defendant on the verdict slip.

In terms of a medical malpractice action, Judge Nealon noted that expert testimony is required to establish the elements of a duty, breach, and causation and that, if expert testimony will not be presented at trial to establish a settling Defendant’s potential liability, then that settling Defendant should not be included on the verdict slip.

Judge Nealon noted that he had previously granted the voluntary Discontinuance of the settling Defendants in this matter in the absence of admissible expert testimony against those Defendants. The court also noted that any efforts by the Plaintiff to introduce expert testimony on the standard of care and causation would amount to hearsay in this case.

As such, the court found that it had previously properly granted the settling Defendants’ Motions for Discontinuance. The Motion for Reconsideration at issue here was, therefore, also denied.

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

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