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Pennsylvania's Legal Journal

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    A Pennsylvania man claims he fractured his ankle after the railing he was

    brandon swartz

    Brandon Swartz

    holding on to at a vacation resort came loose from the wall, sending the plaintiff tumbling down the stairs.

    Bryant Laws, who resides in Drexel Hill, Delaware County, filed suit on Wednesday against Wyndham Vacation Ownership, which does business as the Shawnee Village Resort.

    The complaint, filed in federal court in Philadelphia by attorneys with the Bucks County, Pa. firm of Swartz Culleton P.C., claims that Laws sustained a fracture of the left lateral malleolus and nervous system shock after, while was walking down the stairs at the Stroudsburg, Pa., resort on June 21, 2012, the railing gave way causing the plaintiff to fall and land on his leg.

    The railing had become detached from the wall at the time, causing Laws to fall down several stairs at the vacation spot, which is located on Buttermilk Falls Road in the Pocono Mountains, according to the civil action.

    The premises liability complaint accuses the defendant of negligence for allowing the property to be kept in a dangerous condition, failing to recognize the risk posed at the site, failing to properly inspect and maintain the resort, and failing to timely repair defects on the premises.

    Laws says that the incident has caused him to experience pain and suffering, and forced him to spend various sums of money on medical procedures to treat his fractured ankle.

    The plaintiff also asserts that his injuries may result in the permanent loss of use of a bodily function, dismemberment and/or scarring, which may be permanent, irreparable and severe.

    As a further result of the accident, Laws has suffered “great and unremitting physical pain, suffering and mental anguish, embarrassment and humiliation, and scarring, all of which may continue in the future,” the suit reads.

    Laws seeks $150,000 in monetary damages, along with interest, attorneys’ fees and costs.

    The matter has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Norma L. Shapiro of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

     

     

    The federal case number is 2:13-cv-05575-NS.


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    A Philadelphia woman claims in a recently filed civil suit that she sustainedgavel back and limb injuries after a revolving door closed on her at a Montgomery County hotel.

    Alberetta Shepard is suing Philadelphia-based Valley Forge Convention Center Partners over injuries she claims to have sustained last spring at the Radisson Hotel Valley Forge in King of Prussia, Pa.

    Shepard, who was a guest of the hotel at the time, alleges that she suffered a host of bodily injuries on April 21, 2012, after a set of revolving doors at the business suddenly struck her while she was attempting to exit the place of lodging.

    The plaintiff claims she sustained injuries to the discs in her back, as well as injuries to her head and extremities, including her shoulders and knees.

    Shepard, who claims she had to spend various sums of money on medical care, accuses the defendants of negligence and recklessness for failing to inspect the revolving doors to ensure the safety of pedestrians, failing to properly install and maintain the revolving doors, failing to warn the plaintiff of a dangerous condition, and failing to ensure that proper and adequate motion sensors and doorway holding beams were installed in the set of revolving doors.

    Shepard, who seeks more than $50,000 in damages, is being represented by Philadelphia lawyer Bernard M. Gross.

     

    The case ID number is 130902214.


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    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently declined to hear a final appeal in

    Rosemary Pinto

    Rosemary Pinto

    a Paxil products liability case out of Philadelphia that ended with summary judgment granted to the defendant, drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline.

    The state’s highest court denied a plaintiff’s petition for allowance of appeal on Sept. 18, judicial records show, meaning the trial court’s ruling in favor of the defense will stand.

    Elizabeth S. Wilbourn, a mother from Oklahoma, filed a short-form complaint in the master Paxil Pregnancy litigation at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court back in the fall of 2007 over the death of her child, Alexis Kellum, who was less than a month old at the time.

    Kellum, the complaint alleged, was born on June 4, 1999 with a congenital cardiac defect.

    She underwent surgery about three weeks later but ended up dying the morning after the operation, the record shows.

    Wilbourn, a registered nurse, had taken the drug Paxil to curb her depression for a short time, but claimed that she ceased taking the medication about a month after conceiving Kellum, court records show.

    The child’s pediatric cardiologist had testified that Kellum’s injuries were likely caused by something the mother was “exposed to” during pregnancy, although the doctor subsequently said that he wasn’t certain that a specific drug ingested during pregnancy would lead to the heart defect Kellum was ultimately diagnosed as having.

    Welbourn never asked the doctor whether Paxil could have caused the birth defect in her child, and the plaintiff never consulted a Physicians Desk Reference about the matter, despite the fact that she worked as a professional nurse, the record shows.

    Welbourn also never contacted anyone representing GlaxoSmithKline and she didn’t contact a private attorney regarding her potential claims until she saw a legal advertisement in 2007, according to the court record in the case.

    In her mass tort complaint, Welbourn alleged that Paxil caused her daughter’s injuries, and ultimately led to the girl’s untimely death.

    Following oral arguments, a Philadelphia judge granted summary judgment to GlaxoSmithKline in October 2011.

    The trial judge subsequently denied the plaintiff’s petition for reconsideration of the decision, according to the record.

    Attorneys for GlaxoSmithKline argued that the suit was time barred because it was filed long after the two-year statute of limitations for tort actions.

    Welbourn’s lawyers had argued that the doctrine of fraudulent concealment tolled the statute of limitations.

    The trial court ultimately disagreed.

    In a December 2011 opinion urging the case to be upheld on appeal, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Sandra Mazer Moss wrote that Welbourn never alleged any concealment beyond those encompassing her general failure to warn claim.

    “General systematic public conduct is not an affirmative act directed at this specific Plaintiff,” Mazer Moss wrote at the time. “There was no alleged independent concealment upon which Elizabeth relied preventing her from investigating the cause of her daughter’s death. Plaintiff must use all reasonable diligence to obtain the facts and circumstances upon which recovery might be based.”

    Mazer Moss ended up concluding that the doctrine of fraudulent concealment didn’t toll the statute of limitations in the Welbourn case.

    The court docket shows that attorney Rosemary Pinto, who represented the plaintiff, appealed the trial court’s decision to Pennsylvania Superior Court on Oct. 7, 2011.

    Mazer Moss denied the plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration four days later, and a Superior Court panel ultimately affirmed the lower court’s decision.

    Pinto filed a petition for allowance of appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Sept. 20 of last year, the record shows.

    The high court’s denial order, which was a mere paragraph long, doesn’t contain an explanation on why the justices declined to hear final appeal arguments in the case.


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    A delivery driver is suing the City of Philadelphia for negligence, alleging

    Neil Sagot

    Neil Sagot

    that he had to have a surgical knee replacement, and anticipates having to have another similar operation, due to injuries he sustained after falling into a pothole while making a delivery last winter.

    James R. Scully, who lives in Blackwood, N.J., filed a civil action Sept. 19 against the city over injuries he claims to have sustained after coming into contact with a water-filled pothole on Strawberry Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets while making a delivery Feb. 14, 2012, for his employer, US Foods Co., to the T-LOK German Grill.

    The suit says that after making his delivery, Scully was walking toward his truck, which was parked on Strawberry Street, when he accidentally stepped into the pothole, which had been obstructed by water, and fell to the ground, landing on top of both of his knees.

    The plaintiff claims he sustained damage to the ligaments, tendons, muscles, cartilage and bones of both of his knees.

    He has already had one knee surgically replaced and expects to have to undergo surgery to replace the other damaged knee sometime in the not-too-distant future.

    Scully claims his medical expenses have thus far topped $100,000, and they are anticipated to escalate after he undergoes future medical procedures.

    The plaintiff, who drives for a living, also says he has experienced wage losses due to his inability to work because of his injuries.

    “Said wage losses will continue into the future indefinitely, as Plaintiff has been declared permanently and completely disabled from his current employment and requires a second knee replacement,” the complaint reads.

    Scully says he has endured great physical pain and traumatic anxiety, and he has reportedly suffered from depression, nervousness and humiliation.

    The lawsuit accuses the City of Philadelphia of failing to properly maintain public thoroughfares, failing to provide safe conditions for members of the traveling public, permitting the existence of an obstruction and irregularity on city streets, failing to make proper repairs to the defective condition and failing to issue any warnings to pedestrians and business invitees of the dangerous condition that existed in the roadway.

    In addition to the negligence count, the lawsuit also contains a loss of consortium claim on the part of Diane Scully, the plaintiff’s spouse.

    The couple seeks more than $50,000 in damages.

    They are being represented by attorneys Bradley R. Cornett and Neil Sagot of the Bucks County firm Sagot, Brooke & Cornett.

     

    The case ID number is 130902230. 


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    A new Risperdal mass tort claim has surfaced at the Philadelphia Court of

    Stephen Sheller

    Stephen Sheller

    Common Pleas, this one filed by an out-of-state plaintiff who claims he developed a condition that causes the growth of female breast tissue in males as a result of his use of the pharmaceutical.

    Philadelphia attorneys Stephen A. Sheller and Brian J. McCormick, Jr., filed suit Sept. 20 in Philadelphia County Court on behalf of Isaac Garza, a Texas man who says Risperdal use caused him to develop a condition known as gynecomastia.

    Garza, whose age is not listed in the complaint, also claims he experienced weight gain, pre-diabetes and sustained emotional and psychological injuries as a result of his use of Risperdal, which is an anti-psychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

    The lawsuit, which was filed as a short-form complaint in the master Risperdal Litigation at Common Pleas Court, states that Garza used Risperdal and/or Risperdal Consta from about 2007 through 2011, and then used Invega and/or Invega Sustenna from 2011 to the present.

    The latter two drugs are similarly used to treat certain psychiatric disorders.

    The defendants named in the complaint – Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson Co., Excerpta Medica Inc. and Elsevier Inc. – are accused of negligence, fraud, strict product liability, breach of implied and express warranties, conspiracy, and of violating Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.

    The plaintiff seeks an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages.

     

    The case ID number is 130902319. 


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    The widow of a lung cancer victim is suing three companies that dealt in

    Michael B. Leh

    Michael B. Leh

    asbestos, contending her late husband died as a result of injuries he sustained because of his exposure to the fiber during his working years.

    Last week, Philadelphia lawyer Michael B. Leh, of the Locks Law Firm, filed a short-form complaint in the master asbestos litigation at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court on behalf of Francesca Cerminara, of Ambler, Pa.

    The woman is suing in her capacity as special administrator of the estate of her late spouse, Francesco Cerminara.

    The three defendants named in the civil action are Ameron International Corp., Hajoca Corp., and J.A. Sexauer Inc.

    Francesco Cerminara died on May 1, 2012, at 81 years old, an apparent victim of asbestos-related mesothelioma, the complaint states.

    The former Montgomery County resident, who was a lifelong non-smoker, had been diagnosed with the disease in the fall of 2011.

    The late Cerminara had worked as a maintenance man, pipefitter, plumber and welder at Chemical Concentrate in Fort Washington, Pa. from 1961 to 1974, and at AmChem in Ambler from 1974 to 1988, the record shows.

    The companies listed as defendants in the case are accused of a host of counts including negligence and strict products liability.

    The plaintiff seeks an unspecified amount of damages.

     

    The case ID number is 130902438. 


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    A bicyclist who had to be transported to the hospital for treatment of

    Randy H. Kaplan

    Randy H. Kaplan

    severe injuries last summer after being struck by a cab in Philadelphia has filed a personal injury claim against the driver and the company that owns the taxicab.

    Douglas Wolfe says he sustained a head fracture, closed head injury, lacerations, cuts, contusions and abrasions to his head, face, shoulder and upper arm after he was violently thrown off of his bicycle when struck by a cab driven by Ricardeau Scutt, a Philadelphia resident.

    Both Scutt and the company that owns the taxicab, Galant Cab Corp., are named as defendants in the lawsuit, which was filed on Sept. 19 in state court in Philadelphia by Jenkintown, Pa. attorney Randy H. Kaplan.

    Wolfe was riding his bicycle northbound on 20th Street approaching the intersection with Market Street in downtown Philadelphia on Aug. 23, 2012, at about 7:45 in the evening when he was “violently” struck by the cab driven by Scutt, which was attempting to make a left turn onto eastbound Market Street at the time, according to the complaint.

    The plaintiff had to be rushed to the emergency room at Hahnemann Hospital due to the severity of his injuries, which the lawsuit says has left him disabled and have caused him to experience great mental anguish, a loss of life’s enjoyment, embarrassment, humiliation, disfigurement and physical pain.

    Wolfe was also unable to work following the accident, the suit states, meaning he has experienced earnings losses.

    The defendants are accused of various acts of negligence, including failing to have a motor vehicle under proper control, driving at an excessive rate of speed, failing to give proper and sufficient warning of approach, and failing to yield to an oncoming driver while making a left turn.

    The plaintiff is expected to have to undergo additional surgical procedures for the treatment of his injuries.

    In addition to his medical costs, Wolfe claims that the accident caused him to lose a bike valued at $750.

    Wolfe seeks $50,000 in monetary damages, plus litigation costs, attorney’s fees, punitive damages and other relief.

     

    The case ID number is 130902248


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    An employee of the food services company Aramark has filed a civilArchdiocese of Phila. logo complaint against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia over a broken arm and injured knee she allegedly sustained while working in the kitchen of an area Catholic school nearly two years ago.

    Laura Miller, of Lansdale, Montgomery County, filed suit Sept. 23 against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which operates Lansdale Catholic High School, the site of an Oct. 31, 2011, incident in which Miller claims she became injured after tripping on irregularities and depressions in the floor of the high school’s kitchen.

    The complaint, which was filed at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by Jenkintown, Pa. attorney Brian M. Felgoise, says that Miller at the time was forced to walk over a drain in the floor that measured more than an inch lower than the floor.

    The suit says that the indentation was caused when workers removed a dishwasher but left the drain intact.

    “There is no possible manner in which plaintiff could have avoided the drain,” the complaint reads.

    The incident allegedly caused Miller to sustain “serious and painful injuries,” including internal derangement of the right knee requiring surgery and a left arm fracture.

    Miller says that she has had to spend money on medicines and medical treatment necessitated by her injuries, and that she has suffered a loss of income and earning capacity due to her inability to work.

    The lawsuit accuses the Archdiocese of Philadelphia of negligence for allowing a defective condition to exist in a high foot traffic area, failing to repair the defective condition, failing to warn people of the hazard that existed on the premises, and permitting dangerous occurrences on its property.

    The complaint also contains a loss of consortium count on behalf of the plaintiff’s husband, David Miller.

    The couple seeks more than $50,000 in damages.

     

    The case ID number is 130902569. 


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    A subcontractor who sustained a fractured arm after items from a forklift

    Brandon Swartz

    Brandon Swartz

    fell on top of him at a commercial loading dock in Philadelphia has filed suit over the incident.

    Attorneys from the Newtown, Pa. law firm of Swartz Culleton filed a civil complaint Sept. 23 in state court in Philadelphia on behalf of city resident Andre Diggs, who claims he was injured on April 30 of this year during a workplace accident.

    Diggs, the suit says, was hurt after items that had been loaded onto a forklift he was operating fell from the forks.

    The items had been loaded onto the forklift by workers employed by Sysco Philadelphia, which operates a distribution center at 600 Packer Ave. in South Philadelphia, according to the civil action.

    It was the duty of Sysco to keep and maintain the property and equipment at the terminal in a reasonably safe condition for individuals lawfully on the premises, including those employed by subcontractors such as Diggs, the suit states.

    The defendant stands accused of negligence for allowing items to be carelessly and negligently placed on the forklift operated by the plaintiff, improperly stacking items too high onto the forklift, failing to realize the risk posed by the defendant’s actions, and failing to properly supervise employees.

    As a result of the incident, the suit says, Diggs sustained severe injuries including fractures of the ulna and radius of the left arm that required open reduction and internal fixation, as well as a severe shock to his entire nervous system.

    Diggs says he has incurred significant medical expenses and was unable to work after sustaining the arm fractures, leading him to experience wage losses.

    The plaintiff also maintains that he has suffered a loss of the enjoyment of life’s pleasures due to the workplace injury.

    He seeks more than $50,000 in compensatory damages.

     

    The case ID number is 130902593. 


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    Attorneys representing drug companies in a products liability suit initiated

    David F. Abernethy

    David F. Abernethy

    by a Georgia man who claims he sustained injuries after mixing Tylenol and a prescription painkiller have petitioned a federal judge to take up the matter.

    Lawyers David F. Abernethy, Melissa A. Graff, and Meredith N. Reinhardt, of the Philadelphia firm Drinker, Biddle & Reath, filed a notice of removal on Sept. 30 at the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia seeking the transfer of a complaint by Jonathon Eric Tyler out of state court.

    The Georgia resident filed suit at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court in early September against McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Johnson & Johnson and Amneal Pharmaceuticals over injuries he allegedly sustained, including acute liver failure, after taking the defendants’ over-the-counter pain reliever and a generic version of the drug Vicodin.

    Attorneys Laurence S. Berman and Michael Weinkowitz, of Philadelphia’s Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, filed the civil action in state court on Sept. 10.

    The defense lawyers contend that the litigation should play out in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania because complete diversity of citizenship exists among the parties and because the amount in controversy is likely to exceed the jurisdictional limit in a Pennsylvania state court, which is $50,000.

    Tyler claims in his lawsuit that he had to be taken to the hospital on June 1, 2011, for treatment of acute liver failure, an injury he ties to his ingestion of a mixture of Tylenol and Vicodin.

    The man claims he took the medications at “appropriate times and in appropriate amounts for therapeutic purposes and within the recommended daily doses for the products and as prescribed by his physician,” according to his complaint.

    The lawsuit contains counts of strict liability, breach of implied and express warranties, negligent failure to warn, negligent design defect, negligent misrepresentation, general negligence, fraud, and fraudulent concealment.

    It also accuses the pharmaceutical manufacturers of violating consumer protection laws.

    The plaintiff’s attorneys wrote that “it is unconscionable and outrageous” that the defendants would risk the lives of consumers by not properly warning those who use their product of the risk of serious injury.

    Tylenol, the suit states, is the leading cause of liver failure in the United States, and the potential for acetaminophen-induced liver damage and failure have been well-documented and known to the defendants for many years before the incident involving the plaintiff.

    Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol.

    The complaint says that the drug companies failed to properly market, design, manufacture, distribute, supply and test Tylenol, that they over-promoted the product’s safety and efficacy, that they failed to place adequate warnings and instructions on Tylenol, and that they failed to provide “timely and adequate” post-marketing warnings and instructions after they knew of the risk of injury associated with the pain reliever.

    The plaintiff seeks unspecified compensatory, treble and punitive damages, together with interest, attorneys’ fees and litigation costs.

    A multidistrict litigation concerning products liability claims over Tylenol was consolidated at the Eastern District of Pennsylvania earlier this year.

     

    The state case ID number is 130503559 and the federal case number is 2:13-cv-05712-LS.


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    The federal judge who is overseeing the Avandia Marketing, Sales Practices

    U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe

    U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe

    and Products Liability Litigation in Philadelphia has scheduled a status conference in the multidistrict case for later this year.

    U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe, who sits in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, filed a pretrial order on Oct. 7 setting Dec. 6 as the date when all lawyers who have cases pending in the MDL will be required to appear at the James A. Byrne federal courthouse in downtown Philadelphia.

    The agenda for the status conference will include a discussion of all outstanding motions in the consolidated litigation, as well as the status of discovery in trial pool cases and in actions that were recently transferred from other jurisdictions across the country.

    Plaintiffs’ attorneys with issues they would like to have addressed during the proceeding are asked to contact the coordinating lawyer, Paul Kiesel, at least two weeks before the gathering in Rufe’s courtroom.

    Kiesel and the counsel representing the defendant, global drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, were ordered by the judge to submit a joint report outlining proposed agenda items, including a brief statement of the issues involved in the litigation and the positions of the parties with respect to each item, one week before the status hearing.

    The Avandia MDL was created by order of the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in the fall of 2007.

    Lawsuits that have been consolidated under the MDL contain common allegations that the diabetes drug Avandia, and its sister pharmaceuticals, Avandamet and Avandaryl, cause an increased in the risk of heart attack and other physical injuries in patients who took the drug, and that the manufacturer failed to adequately warn consumers and physicians of those increased risks.

    According to the website DrugWatch.com, more than 50,000 Avandia lawsuits have been filed in state and federal courts across the nation.

    Since the creation of the products liability MDL six years ago, more than 4,500 cases have been transferred to U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, the site reported.

    The first set of Avandia trials reportedly began in January 2011.

    The website went on to report that during the first round of settlements in the spring of 2010, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay about $60 million to settle more than 700 claims.

    Later that same year, the drug company agreed to a $460 million settlement resolving about 10,000 cases.

    In early 2011, as the first wave of federal Avandia trials were getting underway in Philadelphia, the defendant said it would pay $250 million to settle 5,500 Avandia cases filed on behalf of people who died, after succumbing to injuries they claim were caused by their ingestion of the drug.

    Rufe, the federal judge assigned to the MDL, appointed a mediator to help resolve many of the cases remaining on the docket, according to the website.

    In early 2012, Rufe said the court was satisfied with the progress of the settlements and would begin to focus on resolving the cases that remained in litigation.

    The website reported that to date, an estimated 50,000 Avandia claims have been settled out of court.

    New cases, however, continue to be filed on a regular basis.


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    Attorney Tom Kline, known around Philadelphia as a go-to plaintiff’s

    Tom Kline

    Tom Kline

    lawyer prone to securing favorable trial verdicts and big-dollar settlements for injured parties, has been named the medical malpractice “Lawyer of the Year” by the publication Best Lawyers.

    The publication additionally named seven attorneys with Kline’s law firm, Kline & Specter, among its best lawyers in America.

    Kline, along with fellow firm members Shanin Specter, Andy Stern, Lee Balefsky, Donald Matusow, Michelle Tiger and Charles L. Becker, recently announced that they were selected for inclusion in the 2014 Best Lawyers guide to legal excellence in the country.

    Kline & Specter was also named among the best law firms for medical malpractice, product liability and mass tort litigation in the United States.

    The law firm was founded in 1995.

    In the publication, Specter, son of the late Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, was quoted as saying that people contact his firm because they want the “best chance for a just financial recovery.”

    Kline added that the best way to secure this is by hiring a lawyer, or a team of attorneys, with an “excellent track record of courtroom results.”

    The 35-lawyer firm of Kline & Specter has secured seven-, eight-, and nine-figure plaintiffs’ awards in personal injury cases throughout the past three decades, Best Lawyers noted.

    This includes the recent hefty $109 million jury verdict out of Allegheny County in western Pennsylvania that arose from a case involving a young mother who was killed by a fallen electrical line on her property.

    That verdict is considered to be the largest jury award for a plaintiff in a personal injury case in the history of the commonwealth.

    Kline also secured the $14 million jury verdict for Ashley Zauflik, a teenager whose leg was amputated after she was run over by a school bus in Bucks County.

    In that case, Zauflik and her family sued the Pennsbury School District for negligence.

    An appeals court ended up striking the jury verdict due to a $500,000 cap on cases against municipalities in Pennsylvania.

    Kline and his team are continuing to fight the constitutionality of that cap.

    “A conservative county jury in this case saw that this woman had suffered a life-altering injury, and they were concerned with compensating her properly,” Kline told Best Lawyers. “So hopefully we can overturn this draconian limitation on damages to ensure that she receives a fair award.”

    The publication states that Kline won his first multimillion-dollar award in a 1983 products liability case involving a defective intrauterine device called the Dalkon Shield.

    The publication also mentions the 1999 case of Hall v. SEPTA, in which the family of a 4-year-old boy whose foot was torn off in a subway escalator sued the mass transit authority.

    The civil case ended with a $51 million verdict against the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

    “That was another case where at issue was the legal limit of the cap in Pennsylvania,” Kline was quoted as saying. “In that case we were successful in obtaining much more than the cap, as well as getting the transit authority to upgrade all of its escalators to include safety devices. We needed to accomplish all of this in a courtroom, not a conference room.”

    Kline is also known locally, and perhaps nationally, for his representation of “Victim 5,” the man whose allegations of child-rape in a Penn State University shower facility led to the widespread molestation charges against former Nittany Lions assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

    Sandusky was found guilty in June 2012 of sexually abusing eight young men. He was subsequently sentenced to between 30 and 60 years in state prison.

    A Pennsylvania appeals court recently upheld his conviction and sentence.

    The Best Lawyers publication states that given their courtroom track records, Kline and Specter have received many accolades from colleagues in the legal profession.

    The two plaintiffs’ attorneys have also been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America.


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    A new injury claim has been filed in the Tylenol Marketing, Sales Practices

    Christopher A. Seeger

    Christopher A. Seeger

    and Products Liability Multidistrict Litigation playing out in federal court in Philadelphia.

    Attorneys Christopher A. Seeger and Sindhu S. Daniel, of the Newark, N.J. law firm of Seeger Weiss LLP, filed a short-form complaint on Oct. 10 at the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of California resident Jacob Richardson.

    The plaintiff claims he sustained acute liver failure as a result of ingesting Children’s Tylenol Oral Suspension for a three-day period back in early October 2011.

    The lawsuit accuses the defendants, drug companies McNeill Consumer Healthcare and Johnson & Johnson, of strict liability, breach of implied and express warranties, negligence, negligent failure to warn, negligent design defect, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, fraudulent concealment and of violating consumer protection laws.

    Richardson, whose age is not given, seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

    The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered the creation of the Tylenol MDL in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia back on April 1 of this year following a request by plaintiffs’ attorneys.

    The multidistrict litigation, which is being overseen by U.S. District Judge Lawrence F. Stengel, contains lawsuits against the pharmaceutical manufacturers alleging that users of Tylenol, whose active ingredient is acetaminophen, suffered liver damage or failure as a result of their use of the over-the-counter drug.

    The overarching claim in the litigation is that the defendants marketed and sold their Tylenol products in a manner that concealed the margin of risk of liver toxicity and liver failure.

    At the time of the MDL’s creation this spring, there were 27 such cases pending against the defendants in various jurisdictions across the country, court records show.

    Twenty-one of those had been initiated in Philadelphia.

    Many more suits have since been filed, some of them at the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and others outside of the jurisdiction but ultimately transferred into the MDL

    Currently, there are a little more than 100 individual suits in the Tylenol MDL, according to Michael Weinkowitz, a plaintiffs’ attorney with the Philadelphia firm Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman.


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    A state appellate court panel has ruled that a Philadelphia judge was wrong

    Pennsylvania Superior Court President Judge Emeritus Kate Ford Elliott

    Pennsylvania Superior Court President Judge Emeritus Kate Ford Elliott

    to enter a compulsory nonsuit in the middle of a woman’s case against chemical maker Rohm and Haas.

    In a recent non-precedential decision, three judges sitting on the Pennsylvania Superior Court ordered a new trial in the wrongful death case brought against Rohm and Haas Co. by Joanne Branham, who sued over the death of her late husband, Franklin Delano Branham.

    In her lawsuit, which was filed at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in the spring of 2006, the plaintiff claimed that her late husband’s brain cancer diagnosis was tied to groundwater and air contamination coming from a Rohm and Haas plant in Ringwood, Ill.

    Franklin Delano Branham died shortly after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor at age 63.

    Joanne Branham claimed in her suit that the chemical company knowingly and recklessly dumped vinyl chloride, a toxic substance, into an unlined pit for decades at the Illinois plant, which is located a mile away from the Branhams’ longtime home.

    The plaintiff claimed that the vinyl chloride percolated up through the ground and into air around the nearby houses.

    In June, the Pennsylvania Record reported on a previous Superior Court ruling that instructed Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Allan Tereshko to explain his justification for granting summary judgment to Rohm and Haas in response to a defense petition seeking to dismiss only the strict liability claim in the case before it came to a jury.

    Tereshko ultimately found that the chemical company’s dumping of vinyl chloride in the unlined pit at the Illinois plant didn’t constitute an “abnormally dangerous activity.”

    The trial judge went on to enter a nonsuit in the middle of the case after it had already gone to trial on the remaining claims in the plaintiff’s suit, which were negligence and fraud.

    Back in June, the appellate judges ordered Tereshko to file an opinion explaining why he entered compulsory nonsuit on the strict liability claim at that stage of the litigation.

    In its most recent order, the Superior Court panel, made up of Judges Correale F. Stevens, (now a Supreme Court justice), Kate Ford Elliot and Cheryl Lynn Allen, ruled in favor of the plaintiff, writing that Tereshko had no authority to enter a compulsory nonsuit in the middle of the woman’s case on liability.

    The panel ended up vacating the earlier judgment in favor of Rohm and Haas and remanded the case to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas for a new trial.

    The trial on Branham’s suit began in late September 2010, the record shows.

    According to the Superior Court’s memorandum, Tereshko said he felt testimony by plaintiff’s expert witness Richard Neugebauer, an epidemiologist who studied the prevalence of brain cancer in the McCullom Lake area population, to be “troubling,” and may have even been “tantamount to fraud on the Court.”

    Soon after, Branham moved for a mistrial while Rohm and Haas requested the trial judge grant judgment in its favor.

    Several experts who were expected to testify on the plaintiff’s behalf had not yet done so at this stage of the game, however, including the woman’s main causation expert, a toxicologist identified as Gary Ginsberg, the record shows.

    Tereshko, the appellate court ruling notes, determined at that point in time that it would not be wise to continue the trial.

    The judge subsequently dismissed the jury and instructed the parties to submit motions on how to proceed with the case.

    It wasn’t until six months later, in late April 2011, that Tereshko granted the defense’s motion for compulsory nonsuit, with the judge reasoning that it was permissible to do so in the middle of a case since the trial court had reviewed the reports of Branham’s expert witnesses who had not yet testified and determined the testimony to have been legally incompetent to establish causation without the epidemiological opinion of Neugebauer.

    On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in granting Rohm and Haas’s pretrial motion for summary judgment on the woman’s strict liability claim, that the court abused its discretion in striking Neugebauer’s testimony, that the judge erred in dismissing the jury and subsequently entering a nonsuit instead of a mistrial, and that Tereshko should have recused himself from participating any further in Branham’s case.

    On the main issue, that the trial court improperly granted nonsuit before the close of the case, the appeals judges agreed with Branham, writing that judicial rules only allow a judge to enter such a judgment “if, at the close of the plaintiff’s case on liability, the plaintiff has failed to establish a right to relief.”

    “Our courts have explicitly held that a ‘nonsuit may not be entered by the trial court pursuant to Rule 230.1 prior to the commencement of trial before plaintiff’s presentation of evidence as to liability,’” the panel wrote, citing the case of Lewis v. United Hospitals, Inc.

    In Lewis, the appeals judges wrote, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reiterated that a trial court does not have the authority to enter a compulsory nonsuit without testimony having been taken in open court.

    “Based on this precedent establishing that a nonsuit cannot be granted before trial, we find no authority to support Rohm and Haas’s claim that a trial court can grant a nonsuit in the middle of a trial before a plaintiff is finished presenting her evidence based on its own evaluation of the remaining evidence,” the panel wrote. “To properly grant a compulsory nonsuit in this case, the trial court should have allowed [Branham] to present her remaining witnesses and ruled on the motion for nonsuit after [Branham] had concluded her case-in-chief.”

    On the issue of recusal, however, the panel ruled against Branham, agreeing with the trial court and Rohm and Haas’s claims that Branham waived the issue by not asking the trial judge to recuse himself at trial, instead raising the issue for the first time in her post-trial motions.

    “Our courts have established that unless a party seeking recusal of a trial judge on the basis of bias raises the objection at the earliest opportunity, the issue will be waived,” the ruling states. “To the extent that [Branham] is claiming the trial judge should recuse himself from further proceedings after remand, we find [Branham] did not meet her burden of producing evidence establishing bias, prejudice, or unfairness necessitating the trial judge’s recusal.”

    The panel went on to note that throughout the course of the litigation, the trial court showed no partiality to either party and made numerous rulings in favor of each of the parties.

    The record shows that the widow’s case against Rohm and Haas is one of a number of suits filed against the chemical company by people who lived in the McCullom Lake Village area or spent considerable time in the vicinity of the plant.


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    A western Pennsylvania man who claims he sustained serious injuries after

    Gary J. Ogg

    Gary J. Ogg

    being run over by a vehicle while he was handcuffed and lying in the roadway following a police encounter has filed a civil complaint against two Washington, Pa. police officers, as well as the city’s police department and district attorney’s office.

    Jerry L. Ray, who resides in Pittsburgh, filed suit last week against Officers Michael Cain and James Markley, the Washington City Police Department and the Washington City District Attorney’s Office over an early morning incident exactly two years ago that ended with Ray having to be transported by air to a Pittsburgh hospital for treatment of severe head and other injuries.

    In the early morning hours of Oct. 16, 2011, Ray was stopped by the two officers in the area of East Chestnut Street and Jefferson Avenue in the City of Washington, allegedly because the plaintiff was intoxicated in public, according to the complaint.

    The officers proceeded to handcuff Ray and lay him down in the middle of Jefferson Avenue, what the suit calls a busy thoroughfare, while the officers conducted their investigation.

    Cain and Markley acted with a “willful disregard for the foreseeable risk of harm to [Ray] arising from the threat of oncoming traffic by failing to take any steps to protect [Ray] while he lay immobile and helpless on Jefferson Avenue,” the lawsuit states.

    The two officers failed to redirect, warn or signal traffic away from the scene and/or position their police cruiser in such a way that would protect Ray, the suit says.

    The fact that Ray was handcuffed during this time was excessive because the plaintiff was placed in a “dangerous and vulnerable position in the middle of the roadway,” the complaint reads.

    The suit also contends that no law enforcement officers were threatened with physical harm or from the risk of flight by Ray, and that the application of handcuffs “unnecessarily prolonged” Ray’s exposure on the roadway and threatened his physical well-being from the “foreseeable risk of harm from oncoming traffic.”

    Ray was ultimately hit by a driver traveling in the northbound, right-hand lane of Jefferson Avenue, the suit states.

    Markley, the complaint states, “removed himself to safety,” but left Ray “vulnerable, immobilized, handcuffed and exposed to serious bodily injury or death.”

    After being run over by the vehicle, Ray had to be airlifted to Mercy Hospital, which is affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he received treatment for severe injuries to his head, face and hips.

    The actions of Cain and Markley, the suit claims, reflect a “manifest failure” of the City of Washington Police Department to properly train its officers on how to protect individuals in police custody.

    The driver of the vehicle that ran over Ray, who was not identified by name in the civil action, pleaded guilty in the spring of 2012 to driving under the influence of alcohol, the record shows.

    He was able to be placed into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition, or ARD, program, in which offenders are eligible to have their records expunged upon completion.

    In the lawsuit, Ray claims that as a victim, he was never afforded the opportunity to weigh in on the driver’s sentence, which the plaintiff feels was lenient given the circumstances.

    Ray claims he was denied his substantive and procedural due process rights under the law.

    The suit also contains counts of excessive force, battery, state-created danger, and a failure to train count against the municipal defendants.

    Ray seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, along with costs, attorneys’ fees and other legal relief.

    Ray is being represented by Pittsburgh attorneys Gary J. Ogg and David Kennedy Houck of the firm Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky.

     

    The federal case number is 2:13-cv-01483-DSC.


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    A public storage business is facing a personal injury claim by a New Jersey

    Bryan M. Ferris

    Bryan M. Ferris

    man who says he had to have surgery to repair a ruptured tendon he suffered after he fell at the Philadelphia facility.

    Michael Dellavecchia filed suit Oct. 11 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against California-based Public Storage Inc.

    The man claims he was injured on Jan. 12 of this year after the cart he was pushing struck an uneven section of the floor, an act that caused Dellavecchia’s belongings to slide to the side of the cart, and in turn caused the plaintiff to sustain physical injuries after he attempted to grab the falling items.

    As a result of the incident, Dellavecchia sustained a left elbow acute distal biceps tendon tear that required surgery, as well as a severe shock to his nervous system, the complaint states.

    The plaintiff says he had to spend various sums of money on medical attention to treat and repair his physical injuries.

    He also claims to have suffered earnings losses due to his inability to work during the time he was attending to his medical issues.

    Dellavecchia, the suit claims, has also suffered “great and unremitting physical pain, suffering and mental anguish,” as a result of the incident at the storage facility, which is located in Philadelphia’s Port Richmond section.

    The West Coast-based defendant, which operates the Philadelphia storage facility, is accused of negligence for allowing the premises to be kept in a dangerous condition for a prolonged period of time, failing to timely fix or alter the uneven section of flooring at the facility, creating and allowing a dangerous condition to exist by failing to provide proper safety instructions to business invitees, failing to warn individuals traveling on the grounds of the facility of the hazardous condition, and otherwise failing to provide a safe place for business invitees such as Dellavecchia.

    The plaintiff seeks more than $150,000 in damages.

    He is being represented by Newtown, Pa. attorneys Brandon A. Swartz and Bryan M. Ferris of Swartz Culleton P.C.

     

    The federal case number is 2:13-cv-05972-SD.


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    A New Jersey woman is suing Sandals Resorts International and Unique

    James Foerstner

    James Foerstner

    Vacations Inc. over what started out as a minor leg laceration on a bus, but transformed into serious infection and sepsis.

    Concetta Brodine and her husband, Keith Brodine, of Hackettstown, N.J., filed suit against the two defendants at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Oct. 18.

    According to the complaint, the plaintiffs arrived at the Turks & Caicos airport on Aug. 20 of last year for a couple’s getaway.

    While aboard a transport van that was scheduled to take visitors to the Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort Villages & Spa, which is located on the island of Providenciales in Turks and Caicos, Concetta Brodine says she cut her left leg on a sharp piece of metal that was protruding from the bench seat in the transport van.

    When the couple arrived at the resort, a nurse patched up Concetta’s leg, but the woman’s condition began to deteriorate during the following few days.

    At first, the plaintiff experienced increasing pain, shivering, nausea and fever, but on Aug. 24 Concetta fainted and was taken to a nearby medical center where she was diagnosed as having sepsis due to a badly infected lower left leg.

    The following day, after Concetta’s condition continued to deteriorate, the woman was airlifted to a hospital in Florida, and upon admission she was diagnosed with severe left leg infection, sepsis and foreign body reaction, the complaint states.

    During her time at the Florida hospital, Concetta had to undergo a number of debridements of necrotic tissue from her wound.

    The plaintiff was finally discharged from the hospital on Sept. 12, 2012, and underwent medical follow-up care near her New Jersey home, the suit states.

    During the following weeks, Concetta continued to receive treatment, including, but not limited to, wound care and skin grafts, the complaint states.

    And as a result of her weakened condition and altered gait, the woman subsequently sustained a hip fracture.

    The two defendants in the case are accused of negligence and carelessness for permitting a dangerous condition to exist aboard the resort’s transport van, failing to inspect the van’s seat, failing to repair the defect, and failing to warn the plaintiff of the hazardous condition that existed in the vehicle.

    In addition to her physical ordeal, Concetta claims she has suffered from mental anguish, a loss of the enjoyment of life, and a loss of the ability to attend to her daily activities, all as a result of the injuries she sustained during the beginning of her vacation.

    Concetta seeks more than $75,000 in damages, plus interest and litigation costs.

    Her husband, Keith, also seeks the same amount of damages for loss of consortium.

    The couple is being represented by attorneys James E. Foerstner and Robert N. Hunn of the firm Kolsby, Gordon, Robin, Shore & Bezar.

     

    The federal case number is 2:13-cv-06093-MSG. 


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    A Philadelphia jury recently returned a $350,000 verdict in a premises

    Lee Rosenfeld

    Lee Rosenfeld

    liability case against Temple Hospital that was initiated by a former patient who says he needs spinal surgery due to injuries he sustained after falling on damaged concrete.

    City resident Joseph McQueen was awarded the six-figure verdict at the conclusion of a four-day trial at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court, according to the plaintiff’s lawyer.

    Attorney Lee Rosenfeld, of Messa & Associates, who represented McQueen at trial, said jurors didn’t believe defense arguments that Temple University Hospital’s Health Science Center had no knowledge of the defective condition in the concrete walkway.

    McQueen filed a civil suit against Temple University Hospital in May 2012 over claims that he sustained serious disc and ankle problems as a result of a fall he suffered while walking the grounds of the medical facility in April 2011.

    He was a hospital patient at the time of the accident.

    The plaintiff claimed that he had suffered a host of physical injuries as a result of his fall, with the most serious one being a cervical disc herniation that was impinging the spinal cord.

    McQueen contended that the injury could lead to paralysis.

    In a phone interview, Rosenfield, the plaintiff’s attorney, said that the $350K-plus verdict against Temple Hospital showed that the jury believed testimony by McQueen and an expert witness as to the cause of the serious injuries.

    The jury, Rosenfeld said, agreed with his client that the large herniated disc that impinges on McQueen’s spinal cord, and will require surgical repair, was the result of the man’s falling on the pavement.

    McQueen also suffers from pre-existing lumbar stenosis, Rosenfeld noted, but the jury did not believe that the man’s cervical disc problem was tied to any pre-existing condition in that region of the spinal column.

    “Obviously the jury didn’t buy the argument that they [the defendants] were not responsible for the sidewalk,” Rosenfeld said.

    At trial, aside from denying knowledge of the depressed concrete, the defendants also argued that the plaintiff’s injuries were nothing more than a left ankle sprain, according to Rosenfeld.

    “His neck was really the main issue that I argued,” Rosenfeld said.

    During trial, the defendant contended that the cervical trauma was incidental and that the disc herniation had already existed and was degenerative in nature, Rosenfeld said, but the jury didn’t buy that argument, instead believing the plaintiff’s assertion that his pre-existing problems had been relegated to the lower lumbar area of his spine.

    In his medical report, Christian I. Fras, a physician specializing in spine surgery, stated that McQueen’s injuries could lead to paralysis if not treated with surgery sooner rather than later.

    “There was a surgical recommendation that was strongly made by Dr. Fras,” Rosenfeld said.

    “The injury was not a small, insignificant herniated disc. It was not a normal herniated disc,” Rosenfeld continued. “This guy had significant problems with that herniated disc that needed to be fixed.”

    Asked about the size of the verdict, Rosenfeld said he felt it was appropriate “for the severity of this gentleman’s injury.

    “I think the forces came together in this case,” he said.

    The four-day trial commenced with jury selection on Oct. 7 and ended with the $350,330 plaintiff’s verdict on Oct. 10.

    The trial was presided over by Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Rosalyn K. Robinson.

    The suit was originally filed by Philadelphia lawyer Bentley M. Saul, court records show.


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    A handful of cancer survivors and relatives of those who perished from the

    Anne McGinness Kearse

    Anne McGinness Kearse

    disease have filed a complaint against two western Pennsylvania nuclear materials processing plants over allegations that the defendants negligently and recklessly allowed the release of radioactive materials into the environment.

    The federal complaint, filed at the U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh, alleges that the plaintiffs were diagnosed with some form of cancer as a result of the negligent and reckless operation, remediation and/or decommissioning of two nuclear materials processing facilities located in Apollo Borough and Parks Township respectively.

    The municipalities are located in Armstrong County, which is just northeast of Allegheny County, home to Pittsburgh.

    The lawsuit claims that throughout the operational history of the facilities, the defendants, Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group and Atlantic Richfield Co., have caused the release of hazardous radioactive substances into the surrounding environment.

    The releases, the lawsuit says, contaminated the air, soil, surface water and groundwater in the region, which resulted in the plaintiffs’ injuries.

    The lead plaintiff in the case is Alynda Talmadge, a lifelong resident of Apollo, Pa. who says she was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2011.

    The disease, the suit states, has caused Talmadge severe physical injury, pain, suffering and both mental and emotional damage.

    Other plaintiffs in the litigation claim the defendants’ negligence led to them developing a range of cancers, from colorectal to bladder cancer.

    James R. Lucas, who resides in Lower Burrell, claims he developed both bladder and lung cancer as a result of his exposure to the defendants’ hazardous materials.

    Another plaintiff, Patricia Knight, sued on behalf of her late husband, Kevin Edward Howard Knight, who died earlier this year due to colon cancer.

    The husband had developed the disease as a result of the defendants’ “repeated releases of hazardous radioactive substances into the area surrounding the Apollo, Pa. facilities,” the suit states.

    The record shows that Kevin Knight was diagnosed with his disease in the spring of 2012.

    Other co-plaintiffs include Apollo resident John E. Whitlinger, who allegedly developed throat cancer as a result of the defendants’ activities, Karen Bove, a Greensburg, Pa. resident who developed breast cancer, and Paul W. Lants, who ties his thyroid cancer to the defendants’ negligence.

    Plaintiff Donna Jean Wysocki, who also still lives in Apollo, was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2012, a disease she traces to the defendants.

    The complaint accuses the defendants of violating the Price Anderson Act and the U.S. Atomic Energy Act.

    It contains additional counts of negligence, negligence per se, absolute or strict liability, misrepresentation and concealment, civil conspiracy, and wrongful death.

    The plaintiffs seek an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages, exemplary damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, as well as injunctive relief.

    The suit was filed by attorneys Bruce E. Mattock, Anne McGinness Kearse and Fidelman L. Fitzpatrick, of the Motley Rice law firm.

     

    The federal case number is 2:13-cv-01527-DSC-RCM. 


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    Twenty-six victims of Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant

    Kenneth R. Feinberg

    Kenneth R. Feinberg

    football coach jailed for three-to-six decades for child molestation, have agreed to settle civil claims with the central Pennsylvania university for nearly $60 million, the school announced on Monday.

    Penn State officials confirmed this week that 23 of the 26 settlement agreements are fully signed, while three have been agreed to in principle.

    The $59.7 million in settlements are subject to confidentiality agreements.

    “The Board of Trustees has had as one of its primary objectives to reach settlements in a way that is fair and respects the privacy of the individuals involved,” Keith Masser, board chairman, said in a statement released by the university. “This is another important milestone in accomplishing that goal.”

    Penn State officials said that the settlement amounts will not be funded by student tuition, taxpayer money or university donations.

    The dollars are expected to come out of the school’s liability insurance policies, and expenses not covered by insurance are expected to be funded from interest revenues related to loans made by the university to its self-supporting units, the school announced on its website.

    “We hope this is another step forward in the healing process for those hurt by Mr. Sandusky, and another step forward for Penn State,” University President Rodney Erickson said in a statement. “We cannot undo what has been done, but we can and must do everything possible to learn from this and ensure it never happens against at Penn State.”

    Sandusky was convicted in June 2012 on 45 counts of child sex-abuse and subsequently sentenced to 30-to-60 years in state prison.

    A Pennsylvania appeals court recently upheld the conviction and sentence.

    In his statement, Erickson thanked attorneys Kenneth Feinberg and Michael Rozen for their efforts in helping to facilitate the settlements.

    “Their expertise and efforts have been invaluable to our ability to reach mutually acceptable resolutions in the large majority of the claims,” Erickson stated.

    The university had retained the lawyers’ services to help with settlement negotiations.

    Penn State says it had received claims from a total of 32 people who either were, or allege they were, victimized by Sandusky.

    The school ended up rejecting six of those claims as being without merit and has engaged individuals in possible settlement discussions, the university announced.

    In his statement, Erickson noted that Penn State during the past year has instituted more than 115 changes relating to safety, security, compliance, governance and human resources.

    Many of the changes were inspired by the Sandusky child molestation scandal.

    “Through self-imposed urgency, the Board of Trustees, administration and staff have brought sweeping reform and best practice processes to nearly every aspect of the University’s governance and oversight,” the school’s statement reads.

    Erickson said Penn State has made great strides, but that more still needs to be done.

    “Our University is a better institution today as a result of the work and dedication of our trustees, administrators, faculty, staff and students,” the president stated.

    The child sex-abuse scandal spurred litigation against not only Penn State, but also various former officials, such as since-fired president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Timothy Curley and former Vice President Gary Schultz.

    Those three individuals were hit with perjury and failure-to-report charges following the scandal.

    Spanier has filed court papers indicating he, too, plans to sue; the defendant in the pending Spanier action is Louis Freeh, the former FBI director and federal judge who was retained by Penn State to conduct an internal investigation into the school’s knowledge of the events surrounding the Sandusky matter.

    A lawyer representing Spanier in his pending civil suit recently filed a motion to have the case stayed pending the resolution of the criminal matter.

    The lawyer, Elizabeth Ainslie, of the Philadelphia firm Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, wrote that the civil and criminal cases are predicated on the same allegations, and allowing the lawsuit to go forward at this time could prejudice her client.

    Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed by the family of Joe Paterno, the late Penn State head football coach, against the NCAA challenging the sanctions on the university that arose from the sex scandal is progressing in federal court.

    And another civil case is also making its way through the courts, this one by former assistant football coach Michael McQueary against Penn State.

    The McQueary suit, which contains counts of whistleblower law violations and defamation, is playing out in state court.


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