Trial Judge Criticized for Tossing Wrongful-Death Suit
Lazarus also said there was no evidence as to how delaying the trial prejudiced the defense.
The doctors argued that delaying trial in a case that's been going on for so long creates more potential for memories to fade and evidence to get spoiled. In addition, they said they have to note the action pending against them on applications for insurance and privileges, according to Lazarus.
"This generalized argument fails to demonstrate any truly significant prejudice," Lazarus said.
But Fitzgerald said that, while he concurred in the result, he might be inclined to change his mind if trial doesn't commence soon.
"I find it inexplicable that Jones or her counsel has not retained additional counsel given the long history of this case and her counsel's numerous issues," Fitzgerald said. "But for the procedural posture, as well as my inability to fault Jones for her illnesses and the apparent unforeseen circumstances of her experts, I would have been inclined to affirm the order below."
Counsel for Jones, Ronald S. Pollack of PollackSteinberg in Feasterville, Pa., said he felt the Superior Court "got it right."
"Yes, this case has had a long and arduous history, but that's as a result of all sides, and the plaintiff did everything in her power to comply with the court rules," Pollack said.
Counsel for Mercy Suburban, William H. Pugh V of Kane, Pugh, Knoell, Troy & Kramer in Norristown, Pa., could not be reached for comment.
Counsel for the doctors, Denise L. Juliana of Young & McGilvery in King of Prussia, Pa., also could not be reached.
(Copies of the 10-page opinion in Jones v. Mercy Suburban Hospital, PICS No. 14-0139, are available from The Legal Intelligencer. Please call the Pennsylvania Instant Case Service at 800-276-PICS to order or for information.) •