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December 30, 2011

by Sharon F. Harvey, Esquire

In Pennsylvania law suits brought against school districts and various county governments or agencies are subject to the limitations set forth in the of the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act, 42 Pa. C.S. §8541 et seq.. The Political Subdivision Tort Claim Act allows for law suits to proceed against these "local agencies" only if specific requirements are met.

December 30, 2011

by Lisa A. Cauley, Esquire

Effective September 2, 2008, changes were made to Pennsylvania law governing reimbursement of Medical Assistance from personal injury claims. The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare may fine insurance companies up to $5,000.00 for each violation of the new law. Essentially, whereas the burden and penalty used to be upon the recipient/claimant for failure to reimburse the DPW, insurers now share in that responsibility, with financial consequences for failure to do so. The new law applies to suits filed or claims made on or after September 2, 2008.

December 30, 2011

By Lisa Cauley, Esquire

Many individuals and businesses in Pennsylvania question whether they may be held liable if they serve alcohol to a person who later injures himself or others. In some states, a “social host” may be liable for resulting personal injury or property damages if the social host served alcohol to a person when he know or should have known the person was intoxicated and/or when he knew the person would be driving afterward. These laws are referred to as “Dram Shop” Acts, and enable injured third parties to recover damages from the alcohol supplier. The term “social host” may be defined, depending upon the state, to include anyone who hosts a social gathering, including private individuals, employers and organizations.

December 30, 2011

by Lisa A. Cauley, Esquire

Approximately 20 months ago, the Pennsylvania Legislature made significant changes to Pennsylvania law regarding Joint and Several Liability Statute and Comparative Negligence Act. The amended Act, known as the “Fair Share Act” made significant changes to joint and several liability in cases involving multiple defendants. Under the “Fair Share Act”, joint liability was abolished in causes of action arising after the effective date of the Act, August 18, 2002, in cases seeking damages for property damage or for injury or death to a person. Prior to the enactment of the Fair Share Act, any defendant found liable for a plaintiff’s loss could be made to pay the entire verdict, no matter the amount of that defendant’s proportionate share of liability.

December 27, 2011

Sharon Harvey, Esquire

The law in Pennsylvania allows the imposition of punitive damages on1y for conduct that is outrageous The defendant's evil motive or his reckless indifference to the rights of must be evaluated Chambers v. Montgomery, 411 Pa. 339, 492 A. 2d 355 (1963). Punitive damages are normally allowed in tort actions but punitive damages have also been allowed in contract actions when one parties action has been so outrageous that the Court believed that an award of punitive damages was warranted. SHV Coal, Inc. v. Continental Grain Co. 526 Pa. 489, 587 A. 2d 702 (1991). Punitive damages are also available in an equity action if the chancellor in equity determines that a person's actions arise to outrageous conduct.