Scranton Attorneys Defeat Plaintiff’s Claims for Pain and Suffering through Motion for Summary Judgment

Post Date
05/23/12

Attorneys Daniel Stofko and Stephen Franko, IV of Cipriani & Werner’s Scranton office recently obtained partial summary judgment on behalf of a client in a motor vehicle accident case, precluding the Plaintiff from recovering any non-economic damages, including past and future pain and suffering.  The Plaintiff, who had selected the limited tort opinion on her first party insurance, alleged injuries to her neck, back, shoulder and knees and was found to have herniated and bulging discs in her cervical spine as well as a possible torn meniscus.   In addition to the initial emergency room visit, orthopedic consult, and subsequent MRI studies, Plaintiff made thirty-six chiropractic visits over the course of more than fourteen months in treating her alleged injuries. 

At deposition, critical testimony was elicited from the Plaintiff on the question of whether Plaintiff suffered a “serious injury”, as is required for a limited tort Plaintiff to recover non-economic damages under Pennsylvania’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law.  Plaintiff contended that her injuries constituted serious injuries in that they were confirmed by MRI, resulted in treatment for more than one year and left her with ongoing pain.  At deposition, Attorney Stofko elicited detailed testimony that the Plaintiff had no impairment as to her activities of daily living or hobbies; that no doctor placed her under any ongoing restrictions; that she was able to perform her work activities; and that there were no particular activities she was unable to perform due to her alleged injuries. 

Following the filing of Attorney Stofko’s Motion for Summary Judgment and Brief, Attorney Franko successfully argued that Plaintiff’s injuries clearly did not rise to the level of serious impairment of bodily function necessary for Plaintiff to recover non-economic damages, such that the Court could determine the issue as a matter of law.  In so doing, Attorney Franko successfully countered the Plaintiff’s contentions that the determination of serious injury is one that must be left to the jury to determine in all cases. 

The Court’s Order granting the Motion for Summary Judgment limited the Plaintiff’s potential recovery to her alleged economic damages only, which in this case total a few thousand dollars.  This also changes the case from a potential lengthy jury trial to a simple mandatory arbitration matter, saving our client from significant time, expense and uncertainty.

Related Attorneys
Related Offices
Related Practice Areas
Share