Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Pennsylvania Superior Court Addresses the Relation Back Doctrine

In the case of Edwards v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., No. 826 EDA 2021 (Pa. Super. March 21, 2023 Stabile, J., McCaffery, J., and Pellegrini, J.) (Op. by Pellegrini, J.)(Stabile, J., Dissenting), the court addressed the relation back doctrine which, in certain situations, has served to validate the acts of a personal representative of an estate predates their official appointment as the representative of the estate.

In this case, the court considered whether the relation back doctrine applies when a Plaintiff timely files an action on behalf of an estate but does not apply to be appointed to be the personal representative of the estate until after the statute of limitations has run.

The trial court found that the doctrine did apply in this situation and, as such, denied the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the Defendant. 

The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed and held that the Plaintiff’s appointment as a personal representative of her late husband’s estate related back to her filing of the Complaint even though the Plaintiff did not apply to be the personal representative of the estate until two (2) months after the expiration of the statute of limitations.

Anyone wishing to review the Majority decision may click this LINK.  Judge Stabile's Dissenting Opinion can be viewed HERE

I send thanks to Attorney John M. Ranker of the Greensburg, PA law firm of John M. Ranker & Associates, P.C. for bringing this case to my attention.

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