Delay Damages Apply to Future Medical Expense Awards
But Donohue said Anchorstar and Goldberg were inapplicable because, in those cases, the courts refused to apply delay damages to future medical expenses because the plaintiffs were seeking relief for someone else's bodily injury.
Donohue said Pa.R.C.P. 238(a)(1), which states that delay damages shall be applied "at the request of the plaintiff in a civil action seeking monetary relief for bodily injury," is "clear and unambiguous."
Donohue also disagreed with Ross' argument that delay damages should not be applied to future medical expenses because they are expenses that have not yet been incurred.
"This court has previously held that a trial court properly grants delay damages for awards on future injuries," Donohue said, pointing to the Superior Court's 1991 rulings in Lilley v. Johns-Manville and Gross v. Johns-Manville.
Donohue added in a footnote that another proper inquiry the trial court could have made in Roth was whether future medical expenses constitute compensatory damages under Rule 238.
Donohue said they clearly do, according to the Supreme Court's 2004 ruling in Tucker v. Philadelphia Daily News, in which the justices noted that the plaintiff had sought compensatory damages, including future medical expenses, in an underlying suit.
Counsel for Roth, Brian J. Butler of Lenahan & Dempsey in Wilkes Barre, Pa., could not be reached for comment at press time.
Counsel for Ross, Ryan C. Blazure of Thomas, Thomas & Hafer in Wilkes Barre, also could not be reached.
(Copies of the eight-page opinion in Roth v. Ross, PICS No. 14-0229, are available from Pennsylvania Law Weekly. Please call the Pennsylvania Instant Case Service at 800-276-PICS to order or for information.) •