Appellate and Post-Trial Advocacy

Our Appellate and Post-Trial Advocacy team handles all aspects of the post-trial and appellate process.  We have handled appeals in all Pennsylvania state and federal appellate courts.  We are thorough and effective in our written and oral presentation of issues.  Our extensive experience with the post-trial process allows us to strategically preserve, where necessary, and present the issues on appeal that will give you the best chance at prevailing.  A number of our group members are former law clerks to state and federal judges, including judges of the appellate courts.

Clients seek out our Appellate and Post-Trial Advocacy team to review appeals and adverse verdicts.  Our recent appellate results include:

Superior Court Case No. 6 MDA 2016 (November 15, 2016)

In a matter of first impression, appellant sought to challenge a prior involuntary commitment under Section 302 of the Pennsylvania Mental Health Procedures Act arguing, among other things, that the commitment should be expunged because a final determination had not been made within two-hours of the patient’s arrival at the hospital.  S&S successfully defended the commitment in the trial court and the Superior Court affirmed; rejecting all challenges by appellant.  Importantly, the Superior Court agreed that Section 302 requires that a physician examine the patient within two hours of arrival at the facility, but does not require a final commitment determination within the same two-hour period.  This was an important conclusion and clarification for S&S’s hospital client and any hospital in Pennsylvania treating similarly situated mental health patients.

Superior Court Case 2016 PA Super 190 (filed August 26, 2016) [No. 1161 MDA 2015 (July 15, 2016)]

The S&S appellate team successfully upheld a defense verdict at trial.  Plaintiff challenged the verdict on appeal arguing that the trial court erred by permitting a defense expert to testify under Sections 512(c)(1) and 512(e) of the Mcare Act.  The Superior Court concluded that S&S demonstrated the expert’s “substantial familiarity” with the care in issue and the trial court did not err by allowing the defense testimony.  The Superior Court also agreed with S&S that even had there been error in allowing that testimony, such error was harmless given other testimony adduced by the defense at trial.  Accordingly, the trial court judgment was affirmed.

Superior Court Case No. 41 WDM 2016 (June 13, 2016)

In this professional liability action, S&S obtained a grant of summary judgment in favor of its clients, a Pennsylvania physician and his practice, shortly before trial on grounds that (i) no patient/physician relationship had been established, and (ii) no competent expert opinion against our clients had been stated.  In response, plaintiffs and co-defendants jointly sought a stay of the trial and permission for an interlocutory appeal.  The trial court amended its order to include the pertinent language for interlocutory appeal.  However, the S&S appellate team successfully opposed the joint petition for allowance of appeal in the Superior Court.  The Superior Court rejected the interlocutory appeal, returned the matter to the trial court for trial, and the dismissal of the S&S clients stood.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Case No. 15-2728 (April 19, 2016)

In a case involving the application of the “borrowed servant” doctrine, the Third Circuit authored an opinion affirming summary judgment in favor of S&S’s hospital client.  S&S successfully argued to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania district court that the hospital was immune from suit under the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act and obtained summary judgment.  After plaintiffs appealed, the Third Circuit agreed with S&S and the District Court and affirmed.

Superior Court Case No. 952 MDA 2015 (February 12, 2016)

After the trial court allowed plaintiffs to open a Judgment of Non Pros, S&S’s appellate team successfully petitioned the Superior Court to accept an immediate interlocutory appeal.  The grounds for appeal centered on S&S’s contention that the trial court erred in applying an “attorney oversight” standard where plaintiffs’ counsel had prepared the documentation but had not appeared in the litigation at the time judgment was entered.  The Superior Court agreed with S&S and held plaintiffs failed to offer a reasonable excuse for not properly filing certificates of merit.  The Superior Court reversed and remanded the matter for entry of judgment.  Plaintiffs sought review by the Supreme Court, but S&S’s appellate team successfully opposed the petition.  (7/27/16 No. 194 MAL 2016)

Superior Court Case No. 1467 MDA 2014 (December 18, 2015)

This case came to the Superior Court after the S&S trial team entered judgment of Non Pros against plaintiff for failing to file certificates of merit in compliance with the rules.  The Superior Court, in a memorandum opinion after briefing on the merits, quashed plaintiff’s appeal.  The dismissal of plaintiff’s appeal ended all claims in the matter asserted against S&S’s client, a Pennsylvania hospital.

Superior Court Case No. 1950 MDA 2014 (July 30, 2015)

The Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of professional liability claims against a Pennsylvania physician and his practice.  The S&S trial team obtained summary judgment in the trial court because plaintiff’s expert did not meet the requirements of Section 512 of the Mcare Act.  The Superior Court agreed with the S&S appellate team that summary judgment was properly granted and further that plaintiff had waived his challenge on appeal.  Accordingly, judgment for the defense was affirmed.  Plaintiff filed a Petition for Allowance of Appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court which the S&S appellate team also successfully opposed.  (2/22/16 818 MAL 2015)

Superior Court Case No. 2163 MDA 2013 (November 6, 2014)

The S&S appellate team successfully protected a Judgment of Non Pros entered in the trial court in favor of our client, a Pennsylvania physician.  The Superior Court determined that plaintiffs had waived all appellate rights and therefore that the appeal must be dismissed.  The Court also concluded it would have rejected plaintiffs’ appeal on substantive grounds as well inasmuch as plaintiffs had not complied with the certificate of merit rules.  Plaintiffs filed a Petition for Allowance of Appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court which the S&S appellate team also successfully opposed. (4/7/15, 945 MAL 2014)

Superior Court Case No. 2206 MDA 2013 (July 25, 2014)

The S&S appellate team secured an opinion from the Superior Court affirming the trial court’s dismissal of professional liability claims against a Pennsylvania hospital.  The Superior Court agreed with our client that plaintiff did not have standing to bring the lawsuit in his individual capacity.  The Superior Court also agreed that plaintiff could not amend the case caption to raise claims in a representative capacity on behalf of an estate because to do so would be to impermissibly add new parties and claims after the statute of limitations had expired.  Plaintiff filed a Petition for Allowance of Appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court which the S&S appellate team also successfully opposed. (5/1/15, 792 MAL 2014)