For those unaware, government immunity is the doctrine that provides federal, state, and local governments with immunity against certain legal claims arising out of torts committed by a government employee, official, or agent. The doctrine comes from English law, which held that the crown could do no wrong. What this means today in Pennsylvania, in practical terms, is that in order to sue the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, your case must fall into one of several exceptions to government immunity.

One of the exceptions to government immunity is the motor vehicle exception, which seeks to hold the government responsible for motor vehicle accidents caused by government employees acting in the scope of their employment as a government employee. The motor vehicle exception to government immunity essentially waives immunity where the negligent act that caused the plaintiff’s injuries involves the movement and operation of the government owned or controlled vehicle or its parts.


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You slipped, you lost your balance, and you fell down and got hurt. Does this automatically mean it is the fault of the property owner? The answer is, “Maybe.” If the property is in disrepair or the owner knew about the risk and ignored it, you could have a claim. But before you start planning on the owner paying your medical bills, you should think about the conditions of the property, the steps the owner took to prevent an accident, and whether or not those steps were reasonable. Ask yourself these questions and then call an experienced, knowledgeable attorney who can assess your options for insurance claims, or, if warranted, for a negligence claim:

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In a recent blog post, Tesla revealed that the Model S vehicle that was involved in a fatal accident on May 7 in Williston, Florida was in Autopilot mode at the time of the collision. This marks the first known fatality in a Tesla vehicle where Autopilot was active. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration

On September 18, 2015, the Honorable Stephanie A. Mitterhoff, J.S.C. denied YMCA’s Motion for Reconsideration of the denial of its Motion for Summary Judgment as to whether it is a charitable organization and entitled to immunity pursuant to the Charitable Immunity Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:53-7 (see “CIA”). Judge Mitterhoff found that the core business of the “modern day YMCA” is a fitness center providing gym memberships including classes for various physical activities (e.g. aerobics and racquetball) for a fee.

A comprehensive analysis was conducted by Judge Mitterhoff to determine that the YMCA is not organized exclusively for religious or educational purposes, and that the sole basis for such an argument were documents such as the Articles of Incorporation, Certificates of Incorporation, and Mission Statements, which generally stated that it is an organization established to “promote a moral, spiritual, physical and mental welfare of the young men and boys of the community.”


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For those of us who practice in the world of medical negligence, it is almost routine to receive Preliminary Objections from the defense moving to strike all allegations that contain references to unidentified agents, servants, employees, attending physicians, nursing staff, and other support staff. Despite what seems to be clarity in the law, the preliminary objections are filed time and time again.

Just several months ago the Superior Court of Pennsylvania once again clearly stated that such preliminary objections are not proper and should be overruled. This additional clarification came through the matter of the Estate of Arthur Denmark, by and through his Administrator Anthony W. Hurst, Sr. v. Mercy Health System and Mercy Philadelphia Hospital, et al., 2015 PA Super. 101, Filed April 28, 2015. In that matter, there were several issues raised on preliminary objections and the Court sustained preliminary objections on punitive damages and all references to unidentified agents, servants, employees, etc.

There was an appeal on a rather convoluted procedural history since the case had been marked, in part, nolle pros as opposed to non pros, and non pros was inapplicable because there was no failure to file a complaint, failure to file a certificate of merit, failure to be ready at the start of trial, or any discovery sanction. The Superior Court looked at this procedurally as if the case had been dismissed by way of summary judgment.


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A NY Times article published on January 29, 2016 addressed the increasingly problematic issue of drug shortages. According to the article authored by Sheri Fink, in recent years, shortages of all sorts of drugs “have become the new normal in American medicine.” Ms. Fink notes that The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists currently lists inadequate supplies of more than 150 drugs and therapeutics. The reasons for the shortages are varied: there may be manufacturing shortages, federal safety crackdowns, or the abandonment by pharmaceutical companies of low-profit products. Although pharmacists and physicians are acutely aware of the problem, the public is not.

The article observes that there are no satisfactory nationwide guidelines to determine who does and does not receive drugs, and what the pecking order is for distribution of scarce drugs to patients who need them. Pharmaceutical companies often sell their products to healthcare providers—doctors, hospitals, and other institutions—on a first come, first served basis, leaving the final decision of who gets what up to the doctors, pharmacists, and hospitals themselves.


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The Journal of Patient Safety discussed recent studies which have shown that preventable medical errors are responsible for between 200,000 and 400,000 patient deaths per year in U.S. hospitals. These errors include facility acquired infections, medication errors, omissions in treatment, communication errors between health care providers, nerve or vessel injuries, wrong operations, injuries to organs

Every holiday season brings out another new fad to sweep the nation, and this year is no different:  the hoverboards are here!  However, many are wondering just how safe are these new hoverboards—and the short answer is, it’s not safe at all.

While they do seem cool in theory, these hoverboards are actually less hover and more board.  More technically, it is a two-wheel, self-balancing mini scooter.

To everyone’s eternal consternation, today’s technology has not yet reached the point where we can replicate the ride that Michael J. Fox experienced in Back to the Future.

Initially, the concern was people would fall off of hoverboards and be seriously hurt.  However, that instinctual fear has fallen by the wayside as it has been replaced with a much more real and unpredictable problem–hoverboards are catching on fire.


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According to a recent news release published by the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission, deer-vehicle collisions in Pennsylvania increase annually during the fall season due, in large part, to the fall breeding season. During the fall breeding season, deer tend to be moving around more than usual and they are not paying close attention to their surroundings