Thursday, September 28, 2023

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Addresses Issues of Indemnification and Contribution in Context of Medical Malpractice Claim

In the case of McLaughlin v. Nahata, No. 7 WAP 2022 (Pa. July 28, 2023) (Op. by Brobson, J.)(Wecht, J., Concurring), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, found that a hospital and a dialysis clinic were determined to be vicariously liable for the negligence of the doctors, and Pennsylvania law permitted the hospital 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.

In this case, the issue presented to the court was 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 previously 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. As noted above, the Supreme Court agreed on the issue of indemnification but split on the issue of contribution.

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

Justice Wecht's Concurring Opinion can be viewed HERE.

The Supreme Court's Per Curiam Order can be viewed HERE.

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

Source of image:  Photo by Camilo Jiminez on

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