Besecker v. Paul, PICS Case No. 14-0126 (C.P. Monroe Dec. 27, 2013) Zulick, J. (7 pages).


The Legal Intelligencer


Motion Practice • Pre-Trial Procedure • General Denial

Besecker v. Paul, PICS Case No. 14-0126 (C.P. Monroe Dec. 27, 2013) Zulick, J. (7 pages).

Where a defendant makes a general denial of an allegation of ownership or agency, it will be deemed admitted. Granted, with leave to amend complaint.

Plaintiffs, the Beseckers, filed a medical malpractice claim against defendants arising from a surgery performed on plaintiff Robert Besecker by defendant Dr. Boris Paul at defendant hospital Pocono Medical Center.

In their complaint, plaintiffs alleged agency and ownership among the defendants. Following defendants' answer, plaintiffs filed a motion seeking a determination of admission on the basis that defendants' general denials of plaintiff's allegations of agency and ownership were insufficient under Pa.R.Civ.P.

The court noted that Pa.R.Civ.P. Rule 1029 requires that allegations of identity, agency, employment, or ownership must be specifically denied, or they will be deemed admitted; a general denial shall have the effect of admission.

The court determined that the issue turned on whether the complaint had actually made allegations of agency, employment, or ownership requiring specific denials. The court found that in most paragraphs, the complaint made sufficient allegations, and that in those paragraphs the defendants only made general denials. Therefore, the court deemed those paragraphs admitted.

However, the court granted leave to the defendants to amend their answer to provide sufficiently specific denials, on the basis that because the parties were still in the discovery stage of the proceedings, it would not prejudice the plaintiffs to allow amendment.