Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Addresses Issues of Contribution And Indemnity in a Med Mal Case

In the case of McLaughlin v. Nahata, No. 7 WAP 2022 (Pa. July 28, 2023) (Op. by Brobson, J.), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether, as a matter of law, the hospital could seek contribution and/or indemnity from a dialysis clinic for negligence allegedly committed by the doctor employees of the dialysis clinic.

The trial court and the Superior Court had both concluded that, although the judicial principles for contribution and indemnity did not apply cleanly to these particular circumstances, equitable principles of law permitted the hospitals to seek both contribution and indemnity from the dialysis clinic.

In a unanimous decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that a hospital and a dialysis clinic were determined to be vicariously liable for the negligence of the doctors involved in this matter.  The Court also ruled that Pennsylvania law permitted the hospitals to seek contribution from the dialysis clinic. However, the court was evenly divided on the question as to whether the hospital could also seek indemnification from the dialysis clinic.

Given the decision on contribution and the inability to reach a decision on the indemnity issue, the Superior Court decision was affirmed on those questions.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK and the related Order HERE.

Source: “Justia Daily Opinion Summaries” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (July 29, 2023).

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