• On the Pulse…Marshall Dennehey Is Happy to Celebrate Our Recent Appellate Victories*
  • June 30, 2017
  • Shane Haselbarth (Philadelphia, PA) succeeded in defending a favorable summary judgment ruling in the Second District Court of Appeal of Florida. The plaintiff was a homeowners association whose members made up one-quarter of the membership of an umbrella organization club that operated recreational facilities for the common use of all its members, across four networked communities. The plaintiff association voted by a slim majority to except its entire membership from their dues obligations to the club. For years these dues were understood to run with the land under Florida law. The trial court rejected this improper attempt to alter membership in the club because it was attempted by one-half-of-one-quarter of the club’s overall membership and was contrary to the club’s governing documents. After plenary briefing and oral argument, where Shane asserted that the attempted change in club membership came from the wrong voting members via an improper procedure, inequitably and too late, the DCA saw no issue and issued a per curiam order affirming the judgment for Shane’s client. Placida Pointe Home Owners Ass’n v. Placida Harbour Club, Inc., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 3065 (Fla. 2d DCA Mar. 8, 2017).

    Audrey Copeland (King of Prussia, PA) successfully defended the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in a corporate negligence claim, which had sought wrongful death and survival damages for the decedent’s death while a patient at Saint Vincent Medical Center. The Superior Court held that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the broadly worded Release executed in a previous suit against another hospital, Hamot, for the injuries that led to the decedent’s hospitalization at Saint Vincent’s and, ultimately, his death. The court noted that the plaintiff had released named and unnamed individuals and entities from any and all actions, causes of action, claims or demands for any known or unknown injuries, losses or damages they sustained that were “[r]elated in any way to any incident...on account of which a Legal Action was instituted by the undersigned in the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Pennsylvania at [docket no.], or at any other number or in any other Court.” The court refused to “erase the expansive language contained in this general release” and held that the Release plainly extended beyond the claims made in the Hamot suit at the specified docket number. Slater v. Saint Vincent Medical Center, 2017 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1016 (Pa. Super. March 17, 2017)(nonprecedential).

    Audrey also persuaded the Commonwealth Court to affirm the Workers’ Compensation Judge’s and Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board’s decisions denying a claim petition. The claimant had alleged that she was injured when struck by a resident at a group home. The judge credited the employer’s evidence, which included evidence that the injury was not reported until after the claimant was terminated due to the discovery of negative information in her criminal background check. The court agreed with the employer that the claimant’s arguments were “nothing more than an attempt to argue her preferred version of the facts,” and that the judge’s findings of fact were detailed and supported by substantial evidence. Giacalone-Soltesz v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Fayette Resources, Inc.), 2017 Pa. Commw. Unpub. LEXIS 207 (Pa. Cmwlth. March 28, 2017)(unreported).