Briefs

Amicus Curiae briefs are available below. Please contact Joan Kain at (215) 546-6451 or joan@pajustice.org with any questions or concerns.

Automobile Law
Civil Procedure
Consumer Protection
Evidence
Fire & Property
Government Immunity
Insurance Bad Faith
Medical Malpractice
Workers Compensation
Wrongful Death

Automobile Law

Questions/Issues Involved Filing Date
  • Whether the lower court erred in granting the motion for summary judgement where the decedent was a "class one" insured for the purpose of stacking UIM benefits under the policy of insurance issued in the name of the corporation.
7/31/2007
  • Whether the Superior Court erred in holding that UIM benefits can not be stacked under a commercial fleet policy, which is inconsistent with and contrary to the [MVFRL] (75 Pa. C.S. 1738). Everhart v. PMA Insurance Group
 
  • Whether a "regular use" exclusion prevented recovery of UIM coverage under a GEICO personal policy for injury sustained in a work vehicle? Williams v. Geico
7/20/2007
  • Where a named insured is injured as a passenger & collects the liability policy limit & UIM policy limit of the car she is occupying at the time of the accident, should a stacking waiver preclude her claim for UIM benefits under her own policy which insures only one vehicle. Generette v. Donegal #2.
6/12/2007
  6/12/2007
  • Did the Court err in denying UIM coverage to Roth based upon household exclusions? Nationwide v. Roth
2/15/2007
  • Issue concerns the concept of dual residency of children of separated/divorced parents for insurance coverage purposes. Erie Insurance v. Weryha
2/01/2007
  • Whether an insurance carrier should be required to prove prejudice relative to the late reporting to the carrier of an accident involving an unidentified vehicle when such accident was timely reported to law enforcement officials. Forrester Vanderhoff v. Harleysville Insurance Company
1/11/2007
  • Whether the trial court correctly modified an underinsured motorist arbitration award because PA case law and the plain and unambiguous language of the PA motor vehicle financial responsibility law allows for payments made by a personal or group disability plan arising out of a motor vehicle accident to be plead, proven and recovered without any credit given to the insurer. Tannenbaum v. Nationwide
11/1/2006
11/30/2006
8/17/2006
  • The case of Zerr v. Erie, PA Superior Court 1995, holds that no first party benefits are available for purely emotional injuries suffered as the result of a crash. Many other jurisdictions hold otherwise. We filed this suit specifically to set up this challenge. Glikman v. Progressive Insurance
6/1/2006
  • Whether the Superior Court's decision violates Supreme Court Precedent and the fundamental principles of relevance regarding the admissibility of evidence on the issue of punitive damages.
5/10/2006
  • Whether the panel erred in ignoring the binding precedent of this Supreme Court's waiver principle, as enunciated McMillen, Tagnani, Dilliplaine. Hutchinson v Freightliner, et al
 
  • Insured was operating an insured registered vehicle with full tort coverage when accident occured. He maintains an uninsured registered 2nd vehicle. Because he owns an uninsured vehicle (that was not involved), he has no dirst party, but maintains full tort. Progressive wants limited tort. Progressive v. Kennedy
1/1/2006
  • 1) Does a signed waiver of UM stacking apply to inter-policy stacking as well as intra-policy stacking? 2) Is a household exclusion enforcable where the vehicle involved in this accident did have UM coverage? State Farm v Craley
5/16/2005
  • The issue is one of first iimpression, that is, in order to recover the second level of UIM coverage, do you have to fully exhaust the first level of UIM coverage, or can you give the second level credit for the full amount and settle for less? Nationwide v. Schneider
11/22/2004
11/15/2005
  • Did the trial court err or abuse its descretion by refusing to strike a judgment obtained by an insured against an insurer on an underinsured motorist claim, or by denying Appellant's Petition to open Judgment obtained by the insured in this case? Vogt v. Liberty Mutual Insurance
12/2005
  • Whether under the MVFRL 75 Pa. C.S. Section 1701 a medical provider has a private right of action to recover interest on late-paid payments from insurance companies or are they restricted to an administrative remedy pursuant to 31 Pa. Code Section 69.26? Schappell v. Motorists Mutual Insurance, et al
6/27/2005
  • Whether the lower court erred in holding that a policy exclusion prohibiting the payment of UIM benefits to an insured injured in an non-owned vehicle "regularly used" by an insured applies in a situation where the insured was injured as a guest passenger in a fellow employee's vehicle that she rode in approximately 15 to 20 minutes per day between buildings owned by the employer to perform work. Ayers v. Prudential Property & Casualty Insurance
4/25/2005
  • This case states that since MVFRL was passed after the HMO act and the MVFRL did not address HMO's when excluding insurance subrogation, that even HMO's not entirely funded by employers had a right of subrogation. Nott v. Aetna
12/24/2004
  • Whether the trial court erred as a matter of law when it held that an insured's failure to exhaust the underinsured motorist limits on the first level of underinsured motorist coverage as allowed by Section 1733 of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law precluded a claim on the second level of underinsured motorist coverage as provided by Section 1733 because a credit was extended by the insured to the insurer for receipt of the full policy limits of the first priority of underinsured motorist coverage and the third party tortfeasor coverage. Whether the Court erred as a matter of law when it held that an insured was not entitled to underinsured motorist coverage from his insurer because the insurer did not allege or show it was prejudiced by the insured's failure to obtain consent to settle prior to settling the third party claim. Nationwide Insurance v. Schneider
11/22/2004
  • Whether the trial court committed error of law when it failed to modify and correct the December 1, 2003 uninsured motorist arbitration award where the arbitrators precluded pleading, proving and recovering of workers' compensation benefits during an uninsured motorist arbitration proceeding even though the plain and unambiguous language of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law allows for payments made by workers' compensation arising out a work related motor vehicle accident to be plead, proven and recovered? Whether the trial court committed error of law when it failed to modify and correct the December 1, 2003 uninsured motorist arbitration award which allowed for a setoff of uninsured motorist benefits and when it further allowed a setoff of worker's compensation benefits from another uninsured motorist policy because a setoff is impermissible under the mandates, provisions and public policy of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law and setoff may not even have been contained in the subject policy? Ricks v. Nationwide Insurance
8/30/2004
  • Whether the lower court erred in permitting HMO's subrogation rights as an exception to Section 1720 of MVFRL. Wirth v. Aetna
6/29/2004
  • Whether the injuries arose from a motor vehicle accident. Whether the minor was "occupant" of the bus. Simonton v. Eschbach
4/12/2004
12/10/2003
10/8/2003
  • Are minors bound by vehicle owner's imputed selection of limited tort option where the owner of vehicle has failed to acquire insurance? If limited tort option applies, are injuries to minor plaintiff (facial scarring) of sufficient nature to require jury's determination of disfigurement under Section 1702 of MVFRL? Holland v. Marcy
9/4/2003
  • Can Travelers Insurance Co. continue to demand that people who have UIM insurance not be able to name arbitrators, but, instead, must go to a jury trial? Popelas v. Travelers Insurance Company
8/27/2003
  • Whether a motor vehicle policy which attempts to restrict the scope of "named insured" for purpose of eligibility of the "first party" benefits violates the MVFRL. Walker v. Nationwide Insurance Company
1/29/2003

 Certificate of Merit

Questions/Issues Involved Filing Date
  • Whether service of an expert, sufficient to meet the requirements for a Certificate of Merit, upon defense counsel within sixty days of the filing of the Complaint satisfies the requirement of Rule 1042.3. Whether this Court has the authority to permit a judgment of Non Pros under Rule 1042.6 to be opened under the Standards of Rule 3051; in addition, whether the Equitable Principles contained in Rule 126 are applicable. Whether the Court did not exercise its sound discretion. Womer v. Hilliker
6/16/2005
  • Whether the judgment for non pros in a medical malpractice action without prior notice constitues a violation of Plaintiffs' rights to due process of law; namely notice that an opportunity be heard under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution and PA Constitution. Schiebel v. Latuska, M.D.
4/12/2004

Civil Procedure

Questions/Issues Involved Filing Date
  • Whether the City of Philadelphia is primarily liable for injuries on a sidewalk adjacent to City owned real estate pursuant to the real estate exception to the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act, 42 Pa.C.S. '8542(b)(3)? Reid v. City of Philadelphia
7/31/2007
  • Whether the allegations of negligence against the parents of Richard Baumhammers constituted an occurrence; and
11/24/2006
  • Whether the Superior Court erred in holding that the alleged negligence constitutes six occurrences under the Donegal Mutual Insurance Company policy. Donegal v. Baumhammers
 
  • Did Appellant waive her right to appellate review by raising a quantity of issues sufficient to impair meaningful appellate review, as it relates to PaR.A.P. 1925 (b). Eiser v. Brown and Williamson Tobacco
12/8/2006
10/2/2006
8/10/2006
8/31/2006
  • Whether Pennsylvania should recognize the sophisticated user doctrine in a products liability action. Cherne v. Straub
9/6/2006
6/8/2006
  • Whether the Trial Court erred regarding it's decision not to hold sellers/defendants liable for violations of PA Real Estate Sellers Disclosure Act, 68PA.C.S.7301. Wells v. Cendant, et al
5/15/2006
9/7/2005
  • The Fair Share Act is unconstitutional, having been enacted in Violation of the mandates of Article III of the Pennsylvania Constitution; the Fair Share Act was unconstitutionally enacted and it cannot be permitted to stand as the law of Pennsylvania. Hicks v. Dana Corp.
8/31/2005
  • Whether a plaintiff should be permitted to have a writ of summons reissued when that writ was originally filed prior to the running of the statute of limitations but ineffectively served. McCreesh v. City of Philadelphia
7/26/2004
  • Whether the Superior Court erred in requiring Plaintiff to state a prima facie case prior to being entitled to pre-complaint discovery, resulting in a de facto rewriting of the Rules of Civil Procedure in derogation of the Supreme Court's exclusive rule-making authority. McNeil v. Jordan
1/12/2004
8/13/2003

Consumer Protection

 Questions/Issues Involved  Filing Date
 11/1/2005
  • What elements are necessary for making out a prima facie claim for a private consumer cause of action under the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, 73 P.S. Section 201-1 et seq? Whether the trial court erred when it entered a non-suit regarding Petitioner's UTPCPL claim. Jackson & Abdul-Hadi v. Metro Nissan, Inc.
 10/8/2004

Evidence

 Questions/Issues Involved  Filing Date
  •  Whether PaTLA should participate in the case where the trial court sanctioned the defense lawyer in the med mal case for willfully violating a court order by telling the jury information that was precluded by an order of court because the information consisted of an attempt to link smoking with birth defects, which the court had ruled inadmissible? Stahl v. Redcay
 11/25/2004

Fire & Property

 Questions/Issues Involved  Filing Date
 12/17/2003

Government Immunity

 Questions/Issues Involved  Filing Date
  •  Whether an municipality can be liable for damages if it physically inures a person by violating the Pennsylvania Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, designed to protect citizens from excessive use of force by government. Jones v. City of Philadelphia, et al
2/1/2005
  •  Whether an ambulance company, and its paramedics (paid and volunteer) should be considered local agencies immune from suit, even for gross negligence under the Emergency Medical Services Act. Christy v. Cranberry Volunteer Ambulance Corp.
     
  •  Where PennDOT itself determined that the conditions of a section of its highway were such that the likelihood of a vehicle leaving the highway was so forseeable that a guardrail had to be erected; erected the guardrail, but negligently failed to keep the existing guardrail in proper repair, can it be fairly said that when enacting the real estate exception to Sovereign Immunity, the Legislature intended to preclude suits not only for unforseeable accidents where the absence of guardrails may have minimized injury, but also for foreseeable accidents which PennDOT's failure to repair guardrails, already determined to be a necessary part of the highway's design, was a substantial factor in Plaintiff's death. Bertalan v. PennDOT
12/10/2003

Insurance Bad Faith

 Questions/Issues Involved  Filing Date
  •  Whether trial court erred in not awarding attorney fees for the UIM arbitration. The amount of the punitive damage award is insuffience to punish Erie Insurance Exchange for its bad faith and to deter other insurers from similar acts. Condio v. Erie Insurance Exchange
 12/08/2004
  •  Does the PA bad faith statute violate the due process clause of the US Constitution by permitting an award of punitive damaages without an assessment of the compensatory damages; and if not, how should the PA bad faith statute be applied in light of Campbell (State Farm v. Campbell)? Brown v. Government Employees Insurance Company
 10/20/2003
  2/25/2003

Medical Malpractice

 Questions/Issues Involved Filing Date
3/01/2007
  •  Whether Pa. R.C.P. 1042.72 implicitly overrules Pa. R.A.P. 311(6) so as to require a plaintiff to undergo new trial on damages before an appeal can be taken of an order which directs remittitur and if refused, grants a new trial on damages.
 3/15/2006  
  •  If Pa. R.C.P. 1042.72 is so interpreted, whether it is unconstitutional and/or inapplicable where the nature of the cross-appeal is such that an appeal to the Superior Court is inevitable regardless of the result of a second trial; thus defeating, rather than promoting, judicial economy (and expense to the litigants).
 
 
  •  Whether non-party treating physician can testify as defense expert on standard of care and causation. Rockwell v. Derry
  5/9/2005
  •  From what date is the five year expert witness requirement of Section 512(b)(2) of the MCare act calculated? Weiner v. Fisher, M.D.
 8/24/2004

Workers' Compensation

 Questions/Issues Involved  Filing Date
  •  Whether the WCAB erred in denying employer's counter appeal from the Judge's decision in that the Judge failed to conclude that the petitioner was entitled to the award of attorney's fees and penalties against the respondent for the stopping of the notice of temporary compensation payable and denial of workers' comp benefits to claimant when all evidence indicated at the time that the claimant had not fully recovered and there was no work available to the petitioner. Gumm v. WCAB (J.Allan Steel)
5/30/2007 
  •  Does the offer of re-employment at the employer's PA plant permit the suspension of benefits when the claimant had previously made a good faith move out of state for family reasons. Motor Coils v. WCAB (BISH)
9/12/2005 
  •  The issue is regarding the burden of proof on the job offer requirement under Section 306(b)(2) before an employer can use a labor market survey/earning power assissment. Soltez v. WCAB (US Airways)
8/25/2006
  •  Whether a wrongful death surviving spouse may disclaim her intestate share of wrongful death proceeds when a workers compensation lien, which would otherwise encumber her intestate share of the proceeds, would be extinguished. Gillette v. Wurst, et al
8/19/2006
  •  Whether the Commonwealth Court erred in holding that Defendant was permitted to request - prior to the expiration of the 104 week period described in Section 306(a.2)(1) of the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act - that the Bureau designate a physician to perform an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE). Dowhower v. WCAB
9/20/2006
  •  Pension offset calculations under the Workers' Compensation Act for SERS members. Hensel v. WCAB (PSU)
6/30/2006
  •  Whether immediate filing of Termination Petition was of critical importance in considering good faith of employer. Whether opinion of physician without additional diagnostic studies was relevant. Lewis v. WCAB (Giles & Ransome)
5/18/2006 
  •  Whether WCJ & WCAB correctly placed burden on Defendant to prove that permanent injury to claimant's index finger was separate and apart from loss of middle, ring and little fingers; whether substantial evidence supports conclusion that claimant is totally disabled due to injuries to right index finger. Nursery Supplies v WCAB
4/5/2006 
  •  How to determine average weekly wage when workers' comp claimant has worked less than 13 weeks at time of injury, and has no fixed weekly wages, and no expectation of number of hours to be worked each week, with result that none of the methods listed in SS309 of WC Act directly applies. Burkhart v WCAB
2/3/2006
  •  Whether a claimant who is alleged to have refused modified work for a lack of good faith is tainted with that determination even after a period of total disability. Wolff v WCAB
2/1/2006 
1/16/2006 
  •  Whether an IRE finding permanent injury-related impairment precludes a termination of benefits. McGaffin v WCAB
12/14/2005 
  •  Whether the WC carrier should be compelled to pay the purchase price of a quadrapeligic accessable van, thereby overturning the Commonwealth Court decision in Petrillo. Griffiths v WCAB
2/1/2006
5/18/2005 
  •  Whether the claimant was subjected to abnormal working conditions. The WCJ concluded that evidence established a violation of federal law. He concluded that a violation of federal law can never be considered a normal working condition. WCAB sustained the decision. The Commonwealth Ct. reversed the decision. Hopton v. RAG (Cyprus) Emerald Resources
2/23/2005
  •  Whether an error of law was committed in denying Claimant/Petitioner's Claim Petition when there was clear and uncontradicted evidence in the record that a mental stimulus caused Claimant's physical inury - as the restrictive abnormal working conditions rule has been unfairly extended to mental-physical injury/disability cases. Panyko v. US Airways
12/27/2004 
  •  Claimant alleges she is entitled to penalties and attorney fees for unreasonable contest. WCAB held the contest was reasonable because a genuine issues existed in regard to duration of claimant's disability and claim for on-going medical benefits. Orenich v. Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center
7/9/2004
  •  Petition for Review before Commonwealth Court from the denial of claim petition in a no lost time injury. Brutico v. US Airways, Inc.
6/16/2004 
  •  Whether eligibility and application for and receipt of third party disability or medical benefits is admissable at trial notwithstanding the collateral source rule when offered by the defendant not as offset to reduce the damages caused by the negligent act but as evidence that the plaintiff's damages were in fact caused, in whole or in part, by a prior condition unrelated to the negligent act. Hahn v. St. Luke's
3/15/2004
  •  This case addresses the issue of the procedures to be followed when a claimant wishes to change the description of injury on a notice of compensation payable. Mikels v. WCAB
1/19/2004
  •  Whether a judgment entered under Section 428 of the Act, supported by an affidavit of the plaintiff should be stricken where the WCJ did not specify the amount of penalty to be imposed. Whether a claimant may entere judgment on an award of penalties pursuant to Section 428 of the Act. Doerr v. Zurich American Insurance Company
11/20/2003
10/31/2003
  •  Whether the average weekly wage should be calculated pursuant to Section 309(d) or 309(d.1) where Claimant received Workers' Comp benefits for prior injury in one year prior to subsequent injury. Zerby v. WCAB (Reading Anthracite Co.)
10/1/2003
  •  Whether the Defendant is entitled to an offset for severance pay, whether Section 204(a) is constitutional. This will also decide whether Workers' Comp carriers are entitled to offset pension benefits under Section 204(a) of the Act. Kramer v. WCAB (Rite Aid Corp.)
6/2/2003
  •  Do the exclusivity provisions of the Act apply to these facts? Was the Plaintiff injured as a result of actions by people for reasons personal in nature rather than related to the scope of employment? Hykes v. Williams Grove Amusement, et al
4/31/2003

Wrongful Death

 Questions/Issues Involved Filing Date
  •  Whether a parent is entitled to recover from the Commonwealth non-pecuniary damages such as the loss of the support, society, comfort, companionship and association upon the wrongful death of a parent's child in a wrongful death action? Schultz v. Clarks Summit State Hospital
 1/28/2004