Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Attempt to Extend Medical Malpractice Liability to a Landlord of a Nursing Home Rejected

In the case of Drake v. Schwartz, No. 2019 - 07345-PL (C.P. Chester Co. Dec. 12, 2022 Binder, J.), an interesting and innovative theory of liability in a medical malpractice case was attempted by a plaintiff but rejected by the court.

In this case, the court granted the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the Defendant, who was the owner and out-of-possession landlord of a property leased to a nursing home. 

The landowner Defendant had been brought into this nursing home negligence case under a theory that one of the dangerous conditions that caused the patient’s injuries was a condition of severe understaffing at the nursing home that was caused, in part, by financial hardships imposed on the tenant nursing home by its lease agreement with the landlord.

The trial court noted that the issue presented was one of first impression. In its filings, the Plaintiffs acknowledged that they had no authority for extending a landlord’s control over a dangerous condition to a lease that was allegedly unduly economically burdensome to a tenant.

The court declined to create a new avenue for liability against the out-of-possession landlord based solely on a tenant’s invitee alleging that the tenant’s lease was overly costly or burdensome.

As such, the Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment was granted.

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

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Aug. 22, 2023).

Source of image:  Photo by RDNE Stock Project on

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