Case Summaries

Case Notes from Richard E. Freeburn, Esquire, “The Lawyers Lawyer”.

The content on this web page is provided primarily for other lawyers. It is intended to assist other attorneys in keeping current with the latest developments in the law, in regards to personal injury, workers’ compensation and litigation issues. Every week, attorney Dick Freeburn reviews a case summary for his local Bar Association, that you can find here.

At Freeburn Hamilton, we welcome referrals.


The PA Supreme Court Holds That The Statute Of Limitations In An Uninsured Motorist Action Begins On The Date That A Breach Of Contract Occured

December 4th, 2017

In Erie Insurance v. Bristol, 2017 WL 5617628, (Pa., November 22, 2017), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that the four year statute of limitation In an uninsured motorist claim did not begin on the date that the insured learned that the adverse driver was uninsured, but rather, on the date that the uninsured motorist carrier allegedly breached a contractual duty, which in this case was either the insurer’s denial of coverage or refusal to arbitrate.

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The Two Year Statute Of Limitation For Wrongful Death Or Survival Commences On Date Of Death Under The MCARE Act

November 30th, 2017

In Dubose v. Quinlan, 2017 WL 5616235, (Pa., Nov. 22, 2017), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the trial court and the Pennsylvania Superior Court, both of which had held that the statute of limitations for medical professional liability in the form of wrongful death or survival action is two years, commencing on the date of decedent’s death, as opposed to two years commencing on the date that the victim ascertained, or in the exercise of due diligence should have ascertained the fact of a cause of action. 

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Employer Required To Compensate Employees For Breaks Of Short Duration

November 13th, 2017

In Secretary United States Department of Labor v. American Future Systems, Inc., 873 F.3d 420 (10/13/2017), the Third Circuit held that the employer’s flexible time policy was subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act, (“FLSA”), that the Department of Labor’s interpretation of FLSA as requiring compensation for rest periods of short duration was subject to the highest level of deference, and that the District Court did not abuse its discretion in awarding liquidated damages

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Regularly Used Non-Owned Vehicle Exclusion Upheld

November 3rd, 2017

In Reeves v. Travelers, 2017 WL 4930900, (E.D. Pa., 10/31/17), the Eastern District Court upheld the “regularly used, non-owned vehicle” exclusion contained in Traveler’s automobile insurance policy.

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Evidence of an Insurer’s Motive of Self-Interest or Ill Will is Not Required in an Insurance Bad Faith Action

September 28th, 2017

In Rancosky v. Washington National Insurance Company, No. 28 WAP 2016, (September 28, 2017), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court considered for the first time the elements of a bad faith insurance claim brought pursuant to the Pennsylvania bad faith statute, 42 Pa.C.S. Section 8371. 

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The Pennsylvania Superior Court Revisits The Standards For Nursing Home Negligence, Vicarious Liability, And Punitive Damage Claims

September 28th, 2017

In Breslin v. Mountain View Nursing Home, Inc., 2017 WL 4296241, (September 28, 2017), the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the trial court’s order dismissing the Plaintiff’s amended complaint seeking negligence and punitive damages. 

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Refuses to Accept Appeal from Superior Court’s Reversal of Trial Court’s Grant of Summary Judgement for Defendant Under Tincher Standard in Products Liability Case

September 25th, 2017

On September 25, 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme court denied an application for allowance of appeal from the decision of the Pennsylvania Superior Court in High v. Pennsy Supply, Inc.,154 A.3d 341 (1/13/17), which reversed the decision of the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas, which granted summary judgement for Defendant in this products liability case. 

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Third Circuit Affirms Summary Judgement in Favor of Football Coach and School District for Traumatic Brain Injury Based on The State of the Law at the Time of the Injury

September 21st, 2017

In Mann v. Palmerton Area School District, 2017 WL 4172055, (9/21/17), the Third Circuit affirmed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of a high school football coach and school district.

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September 18th, 2017

The case is Safe Auto Insurance Company v. Oriental-Guillermo, 2017 W.L. 4124219, Opinion by Dubow, J., joined by Solano, J.  Dissenting opinion by Ford Elliott, P.J.E. On September 18, 2017, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that an insurance carrier can exclude “Permissive Driver Coverage” if the permitted driver is not related to the policy holder, is living with the policy holder, and is not specifically listed on the policy.

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No Case Where Generally Slippery Conditions Prevail Without Hills and Ridges.

September 14th, 2017

In Neifert v. Speedway, LLC, 2017 WL 4052264, (Pa. Super. 9/14/17), the Superior Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment by the Berks County Court of Common Pleas.  (Berks CCP, 15-3929).  In this case, Plaintiff slipped and fell on ice in the parking lot of the Speedway gas station on December 7, 2012.  Small patches of black ice were found near where Plaintiff fell from a light misty precipitation.

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The Language in a Workers’ Comp C&R Agreement Determines the Scope of Release.

September 11th, 2017

In Zuber v. Boscov’s, 2017 WL 3974513 (3rd Cir. 9/11/17), the Third Circuit held that the language of the release contained in a workers’ compensation Compromise and Release (C&R) agreement, did not bar the employee from suing his employer under FMLA and Pennsylvania common law employee rights theories.

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Employer is responsible for all medical expenses related to the acknowledged injury in a C&R agreement.

September 1st, 2017

In Haslam v. WCAB, 2017 WL 3798517, (Pa. Cmwlth. Ct., 9/1/17), the Commonwealth Court reversed the WCAB which had concluded that Employer was NOT required to pay for treatment of claimant’s RRS/CRPS condition after claimant entered into a Compromise and Release (“C&R”) Agreement which described Claimant’s injury on a standardized Labor & Industry form as “[v]arious injuries and bodily parts including but not necessarily limited to fractured

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Appeal from Denial of Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgement in Products Liability Case

August 25th, 2017

On September 25, 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme court denied an application for allowance of appeal in High v. Pennsy Supply, Inc., 154 A.3d 341 (1/13/17). 

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Statute of Limitations – Discovery Rule.

August 18th, 2017

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted Appellant’s Petition for Allowance of Appeal In Nicolaou v. Martin, (August 18, 2017), on the issue of the discovery rule.

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The Construction Workplace Misclassification Act (CWMA) May Not Be Applied Retroactively.

August 1st, 2017

In D&R Construction v. WCAB, 2017 WL 3254789,  (August 1, 2017), the Commonwealth Court held that the CWMA may not be applied retroactively,

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A Child Support Non-Disbursement Order Must be Honored Even if the Workers’ Compensation Settlement is Less Than $5,000.00.

July 24th, 2017

In Coffman v. Kline, 2017 WL 3123867, (Pa. Super., July 24, 2017), the Lehigh County domestic relations section (DRS) filed a petition on behalf of a mother seeking to hold a workers’ compensation claim servicer in contempt for disbursing workers’ compensation settlement proceeds of less than $5,000.00 in violation of the DRS non-disbursement order.

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A Panel of The Superior Court Holds That Punitive Damages May Not be Added After the Statute of Limitations Has Expired.

July 18th, 2017

In Khaalid Amir Wilson, et al v. U.S. Security Associates, Inc., et al, 2017 WL 3034031, 2017 Pa. Super 226 (July 18, 2017), a three judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that it was legally incorrect to permit the addition of a clam for punitive damages after the statute of limitations had expired. 

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Strikes Down Major Piece of Workers’ Compensation Act.

June 20th, 2017

In Protz v. W.C.A.B., 2017 WL 2644474 (Pa Supreme Court, June 20, 2017), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down Section 306 (a.2) of the Workers’ Compensation Act.

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Admissibility of Evidence of Intoxication.

June 15th, 2017

In Partlow v. Gray, 2017 WL 2590738, (June 15, 2017), the Superior Court held that intoxication evidence was admissible in a wrongful death motor vehicle accident case even though the Defendant had admitted negligence and the trial court had dismissed Plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages.

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No Diversity Jurisdiction Even Though Plaintiff Only Lived in PA for 11 Days.

May 25th, 2017

In Corrrado v. Timber Ridge Health Care Ctr., 3:17-CV-123, 2017 WL 2288858, (M.D. Pa. May 25, 2017), the Court dismissed a suit over a nursing home death due to a lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the parties were both residents of Pennsylvania. 

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