Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Northumberland Court of Common Pleas Judges Cites to Spencer v. Johnson Dicta on Fair Share Act as Not Dicta

Definition of Dicta:

"A judicial comment made while delivering a judicial opinion, but one that is unnecessary to the decision in the case and therefore not precedential."

Black's Law Dictionary 1177 (9th ed. 2009).

In the case of Tucchi v. Carroll, No. CV-2018-1794 (C.P. Northumb. Co. Jan. 24, 2023 Saylor, S.J.), a trial court judge addressed a Defendant's post-trial motions following the entry of a jury verdict in favor of the Plaintiff against three (3) Defendants in a personal injury civil litigation matter.

In this case, the moving Defendant argued that the verdict against all three (3) Defendants for the total amount awarded should be stricken under the Fair Share Act.  This position was opposed by the Plaintiff.

In an Order only, Senior Judge Charles H. Saylor, sitting in the Northumberland County Court of Common Pleas, ruled that, pursuant to Spencer v. Johnson, 249 A.3d 529, 559 (Pa. Super. 2021), that the Fair Share Act was inapplicable given that the minor Plaintiff in this matter was not found to be contributorily negligent by the Plaintiff or, in other words, was an innocent Plaintiff.

In a footnote in his Order, the judge noted that the Spencer decision “was a precedential holding of the Superior Court after an analysis of the Fair Share Act, and not “dicta” as contended by Defendant Carroll.”

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

I send thanks to Attorney Stephen A. Seach of the Seach Law Offices in Sugarloaf, PA for bringing this case to my attention.

For more cases and articles regarding the Fair Share Act here on Tort Talk, please click HERE.

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