This entry was posted in Landlord-Tenant, Pennsylvania, Subrogation, Sutton Doctrine and tagged Landlord-Tenant, Pennsylvania, Subrogation, Sutton Doctrine.
In Mutual Benefit Ins. Co. a/s/o Michael Sacks v. Koser, No. 1340 MDA 2023, 2023 Pa. Super. LEXIS 574, 2023 PA Super 252 (Mutual Benefit), the Superior Court of Pennsylvania discussed whether a landlord’s property insurer could file a subrogation action against tenants that had negligently damaged the landlord’s property. Despite there being more than one clause in the lease holding the tenants liable for the damages, the court held that because there was a provision requiring the landlord, not the tenants, to insure the leased building, the insurer could not subrogate against the tenants.
In Pennsylvania, a tenant’s liability for damage to a leased premises in a subrogation action brought by a landlord’s insurer is determined by the reasonable expectation of the parties to the lease agreement. Under this approach, to determine if subrogation is permitted, the court considers the circumstances of the case and examines the terms of the lease agreement. Continue reading
This entry was posted in Evidence, Pennsylvania, Products Liability and tagged Evidence, Pennsylvania, Product Liability, Products Liability – Risk-Utility.
In Sullivan v. Werner Co., No. 18 EAP 2022, 2023 Pa. LEXIS 1715 (Dec. 22, 2023), the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (Supreme Court) clarified that in light of its decision in Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc., 628 Pa. 296 (2014), evidence that a product complied with industry standards is inadmissible in an action involving strict product liability.
In Tincher, the Supreme Court overruled prior case law and reaffirmed that Pennsylvania is a Second Restatement Jurisdiction. As stated in Sullivan, discussing Tincher, under the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 402A, a “seller of a product has a duty to provide a product that is free from ‘a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the consumer or [the consumer’s] property.’ To prove breach of this duty, a ‘plaintiff must prove that a seller (manufacturer or distributor) placed on the market a product in a “defective condition.””
This entry was posted in Anti-Subrogation Rule, Landlord-Tenant, Pennsylvania, Subrogation, Sutton Doctrine and tagged Anti-Subrogation Rule, Landlord-Tenant, Pennsylvania, Subrogation, Sutton Doctrine.
In Westminster Am. Ins. Co. a/s/o Androulla M. Toffalli v. Bond, No. 538 EDA 2023, 2023 Pa. Super. LEXIS 626, 2023 PA Super 272, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania (Appellate Court) recently discussed the impact of silence on the Sutton Rule with respect to the landlord, Androulla M. Toffalli (Landlord), securing insurance. After holding that the tenant, Amy S. Bond (Bond) t/a Blondie’s Salon – who leased both commercial and residential space in the building pursuant to written leases – was not an implied “co-insured” on Landlord’s insurance policy, the Appellate Court reversed the decision of the trial court.
In this case, Bond rented the ground floor of a property located in Monroe County pursuant to a written commercial lease (Commercial Lease) and operated Blondie’s salon out of the leased location. In addition, Bond rented and lived in a second-floor apartment pursuant to a residential lease (Residential Lease). Both leases required the tenants (Tenants) to obtain insurance for personal items. The leases, however, did not require Landlord to obtain fire insurance for the property.
This entry was posted in Construction, Negligence, Pennsylvania, Premises Liability and tagged Accepted Work, Negligence, Negligence – Duty, Pennsylvania.
In Brown v. City of Oil City, No. 6 WAP 2022, 2023 Pa. LEXIS 681 (2023), the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (Supreme Court) recently held that a contractor can be liable for dangerous conditions it creates even if the hazard is obvious or known by the property owner. In City of Oil City, the City of Oil City (Oil City) contracted with Harold Best and Struxures, LLC and Fred Burns, Inc. (collectively Contractors) to reconstruct the concrete stairs to the city library. Contractors completed their work at the end of 2011. In early 2012, Oil City received reports of issues with the stairs. Oil City notified Contractors that it considered the stairs dangerous and that Contractors’ defective workmanship created the condition. Neither Oil City or Contractors took any action to fix the stairs or warn of the danger and the stairs’ condition worsened with time. Continue reading
This entry was posted in Construction Defects, Pennsylvania, Statute of Limitations-Repose and tagged Construction Defects, Improvement, Pennsylvania, Statute of Repose.
In Venema v. Moser Builders, Inc., 2022 PA Super. 171, 2022 Pa. Super. LEXIS 414, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania (Superior Court) upheld an award of judgment on the pleadings from the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County (Trial Court). The Superior Court found that Pennsylvania’s 12-year Statute of Repose for improvements to real property (Statute of Repose) began to run upon the issuance of the certificate of occupancy following original construction of the home in 2003—not from the completion of repairs to the home that continued through 2008. Continue reading
This entry was posted in Experts, Experts - Reliability, Experts – Daubert, NFPA 921, Pennsylvania and tagged Experts, Experts – Daubert, Pennsylvania.
In Smith v. Spectrum Brands, Inc., 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142262, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (District Court) considered whether the plaintiffs’ liability expert met the requirements of Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence and could testify that a filter pump for an aquarium tank was defectively designed and caused a fire at the plaintiffs’ home. The defendant filed a motion to exclude the plaintiffs’ liability expert on grounds that the expert’s opinion did not satisfy the reliability element of Rule 702 because the expert never conducted physical testing on the filter pump. The court found that the cognitive testing employed by the expert through various methods, including visual inspections of the evidence, a review of photographs of the scene and literature from the manufacturer, and research on similar products, was sufficiently reliable to admit his opinion. Continue reading
This entry was posted in Experts, Experts – Daubert, Pennsylvania, Products Liability, Subrogation and tagged Experts, Experts – Daubert, Malfunction Theory, Pennsylvania, Products Liability, Subrogation.
In Allstate Ins. Co. v. LG Elecs. USA, Inc., No. 19-3529, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127014, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania considered whether plaintiff’s expert engineer’s opinion that there were two possible causes of a fire—both related to alleged product defects within a refrigerator manufactured by the defendant—was sufficient to support the malfunction theory of products liability. The court found that because both potential causes imposed liability on the product manufacturer and the expert ruled out misuse of the product, as well as all external causes of the fire, it was not necessary for the engineer to identify a specific cause under the malfunction theory. The court also found that the expert’s investigation and opinions met the criteria set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993) and the Federal Rules of Evidence and, thus, were admissible. Continue reading
This entry was posted in Litigation, Pennsylvania, Products Liability, Subrogation and tagged Pennsylvania, Products Liability; Malfunction Theory, Subrogation.
Pennsylvania recognizes the malfunction theory in product liability cases. This theory allows a plaintiff to circumstantially prove that a product is defective by showing evidence of a malfunction and eliminating abnormal use or reasonable, secondary causes for the malfunction. The malfunction theory is available to plaintiffs as an alternative to proving a traditional strict product liability case in those circumstances where direct evidence of a product defect is not found. In Pa. Nat’l Mut. Cas. Ins. Co. v. Sam’s East, Inc., 727 MDA 2020, 2021 Pa. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 752, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania (Superior Court) considered whether the plaintiffs could avail themselves to the malfunction theory if the plaintiffs’ expert was able to examine the product. Continue reading
This entry was posted in Comparative-Contributory Negligence, Evidence, Negligence, Pennsylvania, Products Liability and tagged Negligence, Pennsylvania, Products Liability.
Strict products liability cases have been the subject of much fluctuation in the Pennsylvania courts over the last few years. Utilizing hope created by the courts in recent strict liability cases, defendants have tried to revive defenses based on meeting industry standards and the plaintiff’s contributory negligence. Recently, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania tempered that hope with limitations of how far strict liability defenses can extend. Continue reading
This entry was posted in Construction Defects, Economic Loss Rule, Pennsylvania and tagged Construction Defects, Economic Loss Doctrine, Pennsylvania, Unfair Trade Practices.
In Earl v. NVR, Inc., No. 20-2109, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 6451, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (Third Circuit) considered whether, under Pennsylvania law, the plaintiff’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) claims against the builder of her home were barred by the economic loss doctrine. The UTPCPL is a Pennsylvania statute that prohibits “unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.” 73 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 201-3. The Third Circuit previously addressed the impact of the economic loss doctrine on UTPCPL claims in Werwinski v. Ford Motor Co., 286 F.3d 661 (3d Cir. 2002). In Werwinski, the court held that the plaintiff’s UTPCPL claim was barred by the economic loss doctrine. The Court of Appeals overturned its decision in Werwinski and held that the economic loss doctrine does not bar UTPCPL claims since such claims are statutory, and not based in tort. Continue reading