Thursday, March 14, 2024

Multi-Million Dollar Jury Verdict in Construction Case Deconstructed by Superior Court (Non-Precedential)

In the non-precedential case of D’Amico v. Covanta Holding Corp., 692 EDA 2023 (Pa. Super. Feb. 28, 2024 Lazarus, J., Panella, P.J.E., Colins, J.)(Op. by Colins, J.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that a new trial should be granted in a construction injury case in which the jury had awarded $6.4 million to the Plaintiff.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court held that the trial court’s jury charge improperly omitted an instruction on a key liability issue, rendering the jury instructions misleading and inaccurate.

More specifically, the Superior Court ruled that the trial court’s jury charge completely omitted any instruction on the issue on which the Defendant had sought an instruction, that is, on the issue whether retention of some authority over safety and enforcement of safety requirements can constitute the kind of retention of control sufficient to find liability under Pennsylvania law.  The appellate court found that this omission by the trial court was an error of law on the central liability issue in the case.

As such, the case was remanded for a new trial.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this non-precedential decision may click this LINK.

Source: “PA. Appeals Court Tosses $6.4 M judgment based on faulty jury instruction,” by Aleeza Furman. Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Feb. 29, 2024)

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