• What Contacts Are Needed To Establish Venue For Those Older Cases
  • February 27, 2004 | Author: Wendy W. Walker
  • Law Firm: Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin - Office
  • The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently affirmed the transfer of venue out of Philadelphia County where the contacts to the county were deemed insufficient. In the case of Goodman v. Abington Memorial Hospital, 2004 PA Super, 2004 Pa Super LEXIS 29 (January 26, 2004), the court considered the nature of the contacts because the action was filed in 2001, making it before the effective date of new PA R.C.P. 1006.

    The court relied heavily on the prior decision of Krosnowski v. Ward, 2003 Pa. Super 414, 836 A.2d 143 (2003) (en banc). First, it found that advertisements in Philadelphia newspapers and telephone books are insufficient to establish venue. It also found that the ownership of two physician practices in Philadelphia was insufficient to show the regular conduction of business, as was the hospital's contractual relationship with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Temple University.

    Discovery-Examining The Scope Of The Peer Review Protection Act

    In the case of Estate of Wilbert E. Spangler, Jr. v. Jameson Health System, C.P. Lawrence Dec. 17, 2003, the Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas explored the "original sources" exception to the protections of the Peer Review Protection Act.

    During the course of discovery, the defendant acknowledged the existence of three witness statements of nurses but objected to their production on the grounds of the Peer Review Protection Act. The defendant offered no information as to the origin or circumstances of the statements. The plaintiff's attorney challenged that under 63 P.S. ยง425.4, individuals who testified or were members of a Peer Review Committee can be required to testify in a civil action about matters of which they have personal knowledge, but not about the proceedings or findings of the Committee.

    The court then reasoned that if the nurses, as original sources, may be compelled to testify about their personal knowledge in a case, the same information in the written form should not be immune from discovery. The court then determined that an en camera hearing was necessary to determine how and why the nurses' statements were obtained before it could consider whether their statements should be compelled or not.

    Magic Words Are Not Needed To Do The Trick

    In the case of Holland V. Jahshan, PICS CASE NO. 03-2094 (C.P. PHILADELPHIA DEC. 17, 2003), upon appeal from the post-trial reversal of the granting of a non-suit, Judge Lachman affirmed that the "magic words" of "reasonable degree of medical certainty" are not absolutely needed when the scope of an expert's testimony otherwise expresses this certainty when considered in its entirety.

    In this case, the plaintiff was diagnosed with Herpes, yet was plagued with severe itching despite anti-Herpetic medication. After 15 years of treatment, the plaintiff's family physician prescribed an anti-fungal cream, which remedied the plaintiff's ailments, and a blood test done at that time confirmed that the plaintiff had not had a Herpes infection.

    The defense challenged the plaintiff's expert's testimony for never explicitly testifying "to a reasonable degree of medical certainty" at trial and initially achieved a non-suit. However, on post-trial motions, the court found that when considered in its entirety, the plaintiff's expert's testimony was sufficient in expressing the opinion that the defendants were negligent for failing to diagnose a fungal infection, and that this negligence resulted in the plaintiff's suffering for 15 years.