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From the May 22, 2011, Tribune-Review
By Bobby Kerlik
Sunday, May 22, 2011
The number of medical malpractice cases filed against Pennsylvania doctors and hospitals dropped in 2010, the sixth consecutive annual decline.
"In reality, medical malpractice lawsuits are not as prolific as people think," Pittsburgh attorney George Kontos said. "Any good attorney is very cautious about taking a case. I probably reject about 90 percent of people that come to me."
In 2002 — the year malpractice lawsuits peaked at 2,904 — new rules designed to weed out frivolous lawsuits took effect, and experts credit those rules with the decline in lawsuits in the years that followed.
One requires plaintiffs to get another doctor in the same field to sign off on the claims, showing the suit had merit. Another requires malpractice claims to be filed in the county where the alleged malpractice occurred. That prevents lawyers from filing cases in counties where they believe juries will be more sympathetic, lawyers said.
Last year, 1,491 malpractice suits were filed, according to a report released last week by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.
NOTICE: The Civil Trial Judges will NOT be hearing civil and orphans’ court motions on the following Fridays:
- Judge Gary P. Caruso: May 27, 2011; June 10, 2011; July 29, 2011
- Judge Richard E. McCormick, Jr.: June 24, 2011; August 12, 2011; August 19, 2011; September 16, 2011; September 23, 2011
- Judge Anthony G. Marsili: July 1, 2011; August 12, 2011
Counsel should make arrangements to present motions on prior or subsequent Fridays.
Before you Pay your Premium...
You should know about the 5% discount available to you for your Lawyers Professional Liability Insurance through USI Affinity and Swiss Re.
As a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association you can listen and participate in this webinar, complete the Survey at the end of the presentation and receive a 5% discount on your premium.
To participate in the webinar:
- Pennsylvania Bar members should visit www.pabar.org, login with your membership ID and click “view webinar” on the PBA home page.
As appeared in May 8th Pittsburgh Tribune Review
Dozens of fractured families gathered in a small sitting area on Wednesday in the Westmoreland County Courthouse as they waited to take their divorce and child custody cases before a hearing officer.
There were no lawyers in sight.
For more than a year, a growing number of mothers and fathers, husbands and wives have been serving as their own attorneys in domestic court cases. "I considered hiring a lawyer but changed my mind because of the cost," said Nattalie Turner of Jeannette as she awaited a custody hearing in the courthouse in Greensburg. "You can do everything yourself. I found out everything I need on the Internet. It was very easy," Turner said.
There were more than 2,500 domestic cases, including custody complaints and divorces, filed last year in Westmoreland County. Almost 25,000 similar cases were filed last year in Allegheny County. "A large percent of those cases are filed (without lawyers)," said Patrick Quinn, a family court administrator in Allegheny County. "I'm sure if people don't have money, they can't afford to pay for a lawyer. It's expensive to retain counsel."
April 08, 2011 – The Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners announced the results of the bar examination given on February 22 and 23, 2011. 692 applicants took the examination of which 482 passed (the overall pass rate 70%).
The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce the annual attorney registration can be completed online beginning Monday, May 2, 2011.
Attorneys will be able to register to be an e-filer using the court's automated online system. The online process also will allow a firm to register all its attorneys at one time and more efficiently than the previous paper-only method.
From the March 2011 Attorney E-Newsletter of The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Supreme Court Declares Two-Way Street for Attorney-Client Privilege
On February 23, 2011, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania decided an important issue of the law of attorney-client privilege in the case of Gillard v. AIG Insurance Company. The issue presented was whether the attorney-client privilege established in 42 Pa. C.S.A. §5928 applies to communications from attorney to client which are not derivative (i.e., which do not incorporate confidential communications from the client).
The case involved allegations of bad faith by the insurance company. In the course of discovery, the plaintiff sought production of all documents in the file of the law firm representing the defendant insurance company. In its response to the discovery, the defendant’s counsel redacted documents prepared by the law firm, asserting attorney-client privilege. The lower court ordered the redacted documents produced and the Superior Court affirmed, relying upon the holding in Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company v. Fleming, 924 A. 2d 1259 (Pa. Super. 2007) that the statutory attorney-client privilege applies only to communications from client to attorney.
From New York Magazine
Last fall, the blog Above the Law caught wind of a jokey stunt going on at the Yale Law School Library. In addition to checking out books, students at the top-ranked graduate school could also, it seemed, check out "Monty" (full name General Montgomery), a border terrier mix. The dog would be available to play with students for 30-minute intervals, according to the library catalogue listing. But shortly after ATL discovered this adorable opportunity, the school said that it was just a gag, and that you couldn't really check out the pooch.
And yet now, according to a memo to students, Monty is back in circulation.
From the Court Administrator's Office
ATTENTION FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYS: The Parent Information Form for Custody cases is now available on the Westmoreland County Website (www.co.westmoreland.pa.us) under Forms, Court Administration (Custody). This form is required for all custody cases.
New York court officials outlined procedures Tuesday aimed at assuring that all homeowners facing foreclosure were represented by a lawyer, a shift that could give tens of thousands of families a better chance at saving their homes. Criminal defendants are guaranteed a lawyer, but New York will be the first state to try to extend that pledge to foreclosures, which are civil matters. There are about 80,000 active foreclosure cases in New York courts. In more than half of them, only the banks have lawyers.