You Make the Call: Legal Ethics in PA.

In the case of Sutch v. Roxborough Memorial, the plaintiff claimed that a doctor’s failure to obtain diagnostic testing resulted in an untimely diagnosis of lung cancer.  To prove the case, the plaintiff retained Dr. Porges, an expert from the University of Pennsylvania’s Hospital.  Before the trial and after Dr. Porges had issued his report, the defendant’s lawyer wrote a letter to the University of Pennsylvania and said:

Dr. Porges has clearly overlooked the well-established concept of hand-off to an accepting inpatient team and I thought you might want to know that, if this is her position and plaintiff’s attorneys become aware of it, it could expose the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to significant liability.

For obvious reasons, this letter outraged plaintiff’s counsel who filed a motion for sanctions against the defense lawyer.  Judge Allen, the trial court judge agreed that the behavior was improper, and disqualified the defense attorney from continuing to represent her client.  She also ordered the defense counsel to pay $44,693 in fees and fines.  True Philadelphia lawyering or improper interference?  You make the call.  From my perspective, this was a bridge too far that should not have been crossed.

For more information about this post, please contact Bob Cosgrove at rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com.