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.


A Workers’ Compensation Carrier Cannot File An Action Against The Tortfeasor “On Behalf Of” An Injured Worker

February 18th, 2019

In Hartford Insurance Group On Behalf of Chunli Chen v. Kafumbra Kamara, et al, Pa. (November 21, 2018), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reaffirmed the proposition that the right of action against the tortfeasor remains with the injured employee.

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Evidence Of Authorship Needed To Authenticate Social Media Evidence Under PA R.E. 901

February 7th, 2019

In a case of first impression, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled in Commonwealth v. Mangel, 2018 PA Super 57, 181 A.3d 1154 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2018) that the proponent of social media evidence must present direct or circumstantial evidence that tends to corroborate the identity of the author of the post or message in question, not merely that the account belongs to a particular person. 

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No Duty Owed By Insurer Under Homeowners’ Policy For Assault

February 4th, 2019

In a memorandum opinion from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Judge Bartle held that an insurance company has no duty to defend or indemnify an individual convicted of assault in the victim’s subsequent lawsuit for personal injuries. 

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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Strikes Down The Household Vehicle Exclusion

January 24th, 2019

In Gallagher v. GEICO , (January 23, 2019), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the “household vehicle exclusion” contained in GEICO’s motor vehicle insurance policies.

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The PA Supreme Court Makes It Easier For Fire Fighters To Get Workers’ Comp Benefits For Cancer

January 17th, 2019

In City of Philadelphia Fire Dep’t v. Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd. (Sladek), 13 EAP 2017, 2018 WL 5046516 (Pa. Oct. 17, 2018), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court made it easier for firefighters to get workers’ compensation benefits for cancer caused by work. 

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Insurance Carrier Has No Duty To Defend Or Indemnify Claim Arising Out Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Due To “Pollutant Exclusion.” 

December 17th, 2018

In Foremost Ins. Co. v. Nosam, LLC, E.D. PA, (11/5/18), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held that Foremost Insurance Company had no duty to defend or indemnify its insured against claims arising from carbon monoxide poisoning of tenants of residential property leased by Nosam, LLC. 

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Whether Harm Caused By An Insured Was An “Accident” For Purposes Of Coverage Under A Homeowner’s Insurance Policy Must Be Viewed From The Insured’s Perspective

December 14th, 2018

In State Farm v. Motta, E.D. PA, (December 11, 2018), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held that the issue of whether harm caused by the insured was an “accident” for purposes of coverage under a homeowner’s insurance policy must be viewed from the insured’s perspective.

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Dep’t of Labor & Indus. v. Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd. (Lin & E. Taste), 27 EAP 2017, 2018 WL 3118537 (Pa. June 26, 2018)

July 23rd, 2018

In Dep’t of Labor & Indus. v. Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd. (Lin & E. Taste), the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act (“CWMA”) only applies to construction businesses for purposes of determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor.

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Pennsylvania State Police V. Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd. (Bushta)

July 18th, 2018

In Pennsylvania State Police v. Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd. (Bushta), 14 WAP 2017, 2018 WL 2408166, at *1 (Pa. May 29, 2018), the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania unanimously affirmed the Commonwealth Court’s decision that the Pennsylvania State Police (“PSP”) is not entitled to subrogation of a state trooper’s third-party settlement for benefits paid under the Heart and Lung Act.

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A Split 3 Judge Panel Of The Superior Court Reverses Twenty-One Million Dollar Bad Faith Verdict Against Nationwide

June 29th, 2018

In Berg v. Nationwide, 2018 WL 1702785 (April 9, 2018), a split three judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed a Twenty-One Million Dollar bad faith award against Nationwide and remanded the case to the trial court for judgment in favor of Nationwide. 

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An Auto Insurance Carrier Must Provide Stacked Underinsured Motorist (“UIM”) Coverage Because It Failed To Obtain A Signed UIM Stacking Waiver After A New Car Was Added To The Policy By Way Of An Amended Declarations Page

June 22nd, 2018

In Newhook v. Erie, No. 1917 EDA 2017 (April 25, 2018), a three judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court held in an unreported case that Erie was required to provide stacked underinsured motorist benefits because it added a new car to its policy by way of an endorsement, (an amended declarations page), and failed to obtain a signed waiver of stacking form from its insured. 

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A Prospective Juror Who Shows Bias Must Be Disqualified, And No Deference Is Given To A Judge Who Is Absent From Voire Dire

June 12th, 2018

In Triggs v. Childrens’s Hospital , 2018 WL 2192218, (Pa. Super., May 14, 2018), the Pennsylvania Superior Court found that a prospective juror’s answers to voir dire questions in this medical malpractice case demonstrated bias in favor of the medical profession, and the court gave no deference to the trial judge because the judge was absent from voir dire. 

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Self-Insured Employer Is Not Entitled To Subrogation Of A Workers’ Compensation Lien For Periods An employee Is Eligible For Benefits Concurrently

June 5th, 2018

In Commonwealth v. Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd. (Piree), 995 C.D. 2017, 2018 WL 1611532 (Pa.Cmwlth. Apr. 4, 2018), the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania reaffirmed that a self-insured employer is not entitled to subrogation of a workers’ compensation lien for periods an employee is eligible for benefits concurrently under the Heart and Lung Act and Workers’ Compensation Act. 

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Motion For Summary Judgement Granted To Uber After Determining Plaintiffs Did Not Meet Their Burden Of Proving They Were Employees Of Uber

May 30th, 2018

In Razak v. Uber Techs., Inc., CV 16-573, 2018 WL 1744467 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 11, 2018), the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted Defendant, Uber Technologies, Inc.’s (“Uber”), motion for summary judgment after determining Plaintiffs did not meet their burden of proving they were employees of Uber under federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws.

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A Flight Attendant Injured On A Shuttle Bus Transporting Her From The Airport To An Employee Parking Lot Is Found To Be In The Course Of Her Employment For Purposes Of Her Workers’ Compensation Claim

May 11th, 2018

In US Airways v. WCAB, 2018 WL 1003596 (2/22/18), the Commonwealth Court held that a flight attendant who was injured on a shuttle bus which was transporting her from her job at the Philadelphia Airport to an employee parking lot was in the course of her employment. 

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Bad Things Happen To The Employee When They Don’t Notify Their Employer Of Injury

May 2nd, 2018

In Burch v. WCAB, 2018 WL 1102078 (Pa. Cmwlth Ct., 3/1/18), employee didn’t notify her employer of a work injury because her employer gave bonuses to all employees if the company had no work injuries for the year. 

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A Confessed Judgment Filed After The Statute Of Limitations Will Be Stricken

April 18th, 2018

In Driscoll v. Arena, 2018 WL 823202, (Pa. Super., 2/12/18), the Superior Court affirmed the lower court’s order striking a confessed judgment because it was filed after the applicable statute of limitations.

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An Auto Insurance Carrier Is Required To Obtain A Signed Written Waiver Of Stacking When A Policy Holder Increases Their Limit Of UM/UIM Benefits

April 10th, 2018

In Barnard v. Travelers, E.D. Pa, Feb. 5, 2018, the Federal Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held that a carrier is required to obtain a signed written waiver of stacked uninsured motorist, (“UM”), or underinsured motorist , (“UIM”), benefits when a policy holder increases their limit of such benefits. 

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State Police Officer Was Immune From Suit For Intentional Torts Committed In The Course Of His Employment

March 5th, 2018

In Justice v. Lombardo, 2017 WL 5329370, (Pa. Cmwlth. Ct., 11/14/17), the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court held that a State Police Officer had sovereign immunity from intentional tort claims brought by a motorist who sued for assault and battery, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false arrest, false imprisonment, and abuse of process arising from a traffic stop where the trooper handcuffed the motorist to get her off a busy highway when her vehicle was being towed.

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Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits Widows And Widowers Who Were Separated At The Time Of Death Requires A Showing Of Dependency

February 26th, 2018

In Grimm v. WCAB, Pa. Cmwlth. Ct., WL 280380, (1/4/18), claimant separated from his wife 18 months before she suffered a fatal work-related heart attack.  The record showed that decedent provided health insurance for claimant through her employer. 

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