Judges Opinions Miscellaneous Public Notices, — July 10, 2019 10:17 — 0 Comments

Public Notices, July 10, 2019

Volume 56, No. 50

 

DECEDENTS’ ESTATES

ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

NOTICE OF NAME CHANGE

 

DECEDENTS’ ESTATES

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Letters Testamentary or of Administration have been granted in the following estates. All persons indebted to the said estate are required to make payment, and those having claims or demands to present the same without delay to the administrators or executors named.

 

FIRST PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF RICHARD C. SELTZER, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Jason R. Peters, Executor

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esq.

PO Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

ESTATE OF FLORENCE J. EBERSOLE, late of the Borough of Myerstown, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Jennifer Ebersole

600 E. Spruce Street

Palmyra, PA. 17078

 

William H. Sturm, Jr., Esquire

Steiner & Sandoe, Attorneys

 

ESTATE OF CLARENCE H. GOOD, late of the Borough of Richland, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Co-Executors.

 

Howard G. Good, Co-Executor

Elaine G. Sauder, Co-Executor

c/o Jeffrey C. Goss, Esquire

480 New Holland Avenue, Suite 6205

Lancaster, PA 17602

 

Brubaker Connaughton Goss & Lucarelli, LLC

ESTATE OF PEARL A. FETTER, late of Jackson Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executors.

 

Ronald D. Fetter, Co-Executor

15 W. Main St.

Richland, PA 17087

 

Sandra J. Tripp Co-Executor

4 Muth Avenue

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

Kenneth C. Sandoe, Esquire

Steiner and Sandoe, Attorneys

 

ESTATE OF ALTA G. PATCHES,  late of Jackson Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Co-Executors.

 

Mark A. Patches, Co-Executor

John M. Zimmerman, Co-Executor

c/o Zimmerman Law Office

466 Jonestown Road

Jonestown, PA 17038

 

Caleb J. Zimmerman, Esquire

Attorney for the Estate

 

SECOND PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF HENRY HEFLICH, JR., late of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Jacqueline Stankiewitch, Executor

 

George E. Christianson, Attorney

411 Chestnut Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF PATRICIA WAGNER, late of the city of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Robin Wolferd, Executrix

 

Loreen M. Burkett, Esquire

Weiss Burkett

802 Walnut Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF DALE H. WINTERS, late of the city of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Administrator.

 

Sherry M. Winters, Administrator

511 E. Weidman Street

Lebanon, PA 17046

 

John D. Enck, Esquire

Spitler, Kilgore & Enck, PC

522 South 8th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF NANCY M. MILLER, late of Bethel Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Nicole M. Gruber, Executrix

 

Reilly Wolfson Law Office

1601 Cornwall Road

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF BETTY L. WITHERS, late of North Cornwall Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrices.

 

Carol W. Zellner, Co-Executrix

Jane W. Lim, Co-Executrix

 

 

Timothy D. Sheffey, Esquire

Reilly Wolfson Law Office

1601 Cornwall Road

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF BRENDA CAROL KERN, late of Palmyra Boro, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

John A. Palmer, Executor

 

Thomas L. McGlaughlin, Esq.

Northstar Legal Services, LLC

6106 Schoolhouse Road

Elizabethtown, PA 17022

 

ESTATE OF PAUL RODNEY CHERRYBON, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administrator.

 

Christopher L. Cherrybon, Administrator

1238 West Spruce Street

Pottsville, PA 17901

 

Eric M. Mika, Esquire

Tool, Mika, and Jones, LLC

26 East Centre Street

Shenandoah, PA 17976-0072

 

 

 

THIRD PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF NORMA F. BEHNEY, late of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Jan J. Bowman

130 S. Weaber St.

Annville, PA 17003

 

Daryl J. Gerber, Esquire

The Law Office of Daryl J. Gerber

46 E. Main Street

Palmyra, PA 17078

 

ESTATE OF DOROTHY H. McKINLEY, late of South Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Trustees.

 

Carlton E. McKinley, Trustee

Ronald E. McKinley, Trustee

 

Edward P. Seeber, Esquire

JSDC Law Offices

Suite C-400

555 Gettysburg Pike

Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

(717)533-3280

 

ESTATE OF JOHN R. BOWDEN, late of North Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Co-Executrices.

 

Bridget A. Fittery, Co-Executrix

Bonnie L. Bowden Co-Executrix

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esquire

P.O. Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

 

ESTATE OF MARION P. SISCO, late of Palmyra Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Curtis R. Sisco- Executor

 

Keith D. Wagner, Attorney

P.O. Box 323

Palmyra, PA 17078

 

ESTATE OF WAYNE H. ANSPACH, late of Palmyra Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Cindy L. Bortner- Executrix

 

George W. Porter, Esquire

909 E. Chocolate Ave.

Hershey, PA 17033

 

ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Pennsylvania Warhorse, Inc. has filed Articles of Incorporation, as a non-profit corporation with the Department of State of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for the purpose of obtaining a Certificate of Incorporation for a nonprofit corporation organized under the Nonprofit Corporation Law of 1988, Act of December 21, 1988, P.L. 1444, No. 177, Section 103.

 

 

FICTICIOUS NAME REGISTRATION

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Waste Industries of Pennsylvania, LLC of 3301 Benson Drive, Suite 601, Raleigh, NC 27609, did file in the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on June 20, 2019, registration of the names:  GFL and GFL ENVIRONMENTAL under which they intend to do business at 230 Obie Road, Newmanstown, PA 17073, pursuant to the provisions of the Act of Assembly of December 16, 1982, Chapter 3, known as the “Fictitious Name Act.”

 

 

OPINION

 

Jose Echevarria, v. Inna Massaro, D.O., Cesar Baldeon, M.D., Stephen R. Whitmoyer, M.D., Ifeyinwa N. Echeazu, M.D., Lebanon Emergency-Medical Associates, LLC, Lebanon Imaging-Associates, P.C., Good Samaritan Health-System, A/K/A WellSpan-Good Samaritan L.C.C.C.P. No. 2018-00472

Civil Action-Law-Negligence-Medical Malpractice-Corporate Negligence-Physician Practice Group-Emergency Room-Comprehensive Healthcare

Plaintiff filed a Complaint in Negligence against multiple providers and medical groups including Emergency-Medical Associates, LLC, (“Emergency Medical Associates”) relating to the treatment he received at the Good Samaritan Hospital where he alleged that he sought emergency treatment multiple times in April of 2016 and subsequently was discovered to have an epidural abscess of the cervical spine for which he ultimately was transferred to and underwent surgery at the Hershey Medical Center.  Following amendments to the Complaint, Emergency Medical Associates filed Preliminary Objections to the Second Amended Complaint on the basis that no cause of action exists in Pennsylvania for corporate negligence against an emergency room physicians group.

  1. Corporate negligence is a doctrine under which a hospital is liable if it fails to uphold the proper standard of care owed to the patient, which is to ensure the patient’s safety and wellbeing while at the hospital.
  2. Hospitals have the duty to use reasonable care to create and to maintain safe and adequate facilities, to select and to retain competent physicians and to oversee all persons who practice medicine within its walls.
  3. A cause of action in corporate negligence can arise from inadequacy of policies independent of specific individual acts by hospital employees.
  4. Appellate courts specifically have declined to extend the theory of corporate negligence to physician practice groups.
  5. However, when a physician’s practice group provides comprehensive healthcare to patients, that group is not necessarily exempt from corporate negligence liability.
  6. Since the record contains limited information regarding Emergency Medical Associates and its relationship with Good Samaritan Hospital, it would not be appropriate for the Court to render a decision regarding corporate negligence at this juncture of the proceedings with Emergency Medical Associates having the ability to reassert its argument via a Motion for Summary Judgment after the discovery phase of the litigation.

L.C.C.C.P. No. 2018-00472, Opinion by Bradford H. Charles, Judge, November 27, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF LEBANON COUNTY

PENNSYLVANIA

 

CIVIL ACTION – LAW

 

JOSE ECHEVARRIA                       :  NO. 2018-00472

                                                          :

  1.              :

:

INNA MASSARO, D.O.                    : 

CESAR BALDEON, M.D.                 :

STEPHEN R. WHITMOYER, M.D.   :

IFEYINWA N. ECHEAZU, M.D.       :

LEBANON EMERGENCY-               :

MEDICAL ASSOCIATES, LLC       :

LEBANON IMAGING-                     :

ASSOCIATES, P.C.                         :

GOOD SAMARITAN HEALTH-       :

SYSTEM, A/K/A WELLSPAN-        :

GOOD SAMARITAN                        :

 

O R D E R

 

AND NOW, this 27th day of November, 2018, upon consideration of the arguments of counsel and after review of the file, the Preliminary Objections filed by DEFENDANT Emergency Medical Associates are denied without prejudice to the ability of the DEFENDANT to reassert its arguments via a Motion for Summary Judgment.  Emergency Medical Associates is to file an answer to the Complaint within thirty (30) days from the date of this Order.

 

 

 

BY THE COURT:

 

 

 

______________________,J.

BRADFORD H. CHARLES

 

BHC/pmd

 

 

cc:     Court Administration

Prothonotary’s Office

James R. Ronca, Esq. // 130 N. 18th Street, Suite 1600, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Michael E. McGilvery, Esq. // 2011 Renaissance Blvd., Suite 200, King of Prussia, PA 19406

James A Doherty, Jr., Esq. // 217 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton, PA 18503

Dean F. Murtagh, Esq. // 200 South Broad St., Suite 500, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Collin T. Keyser, Esq. // 280 Granite Run Drive, Suite 300, Lancaster, PA 17601

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF LEBANON COUNTY

PENNSYLVANIA

 

CIVIL ACTION – LAW

 

JOSE ECHEVARRIA                       :  NO. 2018-00472

                                                          :

  1.              :

:

INNA MASSARO, D.O.                    : 

CESAR BALDEON, M.D.                 :

STEPHEN R. WHITMOYER, M.D.   :

IFEYINWA N. ECHEAZU, M.D.       :

LEBANON EMERGENCY-               :

MEDICAL ASSOCIATES, PLLC     :

LEBANON IMAGING-                     :

ASSOCIATES, P.C.                         :

GOOD SAMARITAN HEALTH-       :

SYSTEM, A/K/A WELLSPAN-        :

GOOD SAMARITAN                        :

 

APPEARANCES:

 

James Ronca, Esquire                                     FOR PLAINTIFF

 

 

James Doherty, Esquire, Esquire                   FOR DEFENDANT

Cesar Baldeon, M.D.

 

Michael McGilvery, Esquire                            FOR DEFENDANT

Stephen R. Whitmoyer. M.D and Lebanon Imaging Associates

 

Dean F. Murtaugh, Esquire                                 FOR DEFENDANT

Inna Massaro, D.O. and Lebanon Emergency Medical Associates

 

Collin T. Keyser, Esquire                                    FOR DEFENDANT

Ifeyinwa Echeazu, M.D. and WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital

 

 

OPINION BY CHARLES, J., November 27, 2018

 

Is a group of hospital Emergency Room physicians a physician’s practice group, a part of the hospital under whose umbrella they operate, or something else?  This is a question that will ultimately have to be answered in the above-referenced litigation.  However, the time for analyzing and answering the above inquiry has not yet arrived.  For reasons we will articulate in more detail below, we decline to answer the above question via preliminary objections; such an analysis must wait until summary judgement when more factual information is available via discovery.

 

  1. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This is a medical malpractice case that was filed in March of 2018.  Plaintiff Jose Echevarria (hereafter “PLAINTIFF”) alleges that he received sub-standard treatment at the Lebanon Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency Room during 2016.

According to the complaint, PLAINTIFF went to the Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency Room on April 19, 2016 complaining of a pain in the right side of his neck.  He was diagnosed with torticollis and was sent home with instructions to follow up with his Primary Care Physician. (¶ 29 of Complaint).  On April 20, the PLAINTIFF returned twice more to the Emergency Room with complaints of worsening neck pain.  The Complaint alleges that he was given Motrin and again sent home.  (¶ 30 of Complaint).

PLAINTIFF indicates that he returned to the Emergency Room the next day with pain in his right arm.  He was given a CT scan.  The scan was interpreted as negative.  Once more, PLAINTIFF was sent home. (¶ 31 of Complaint).

According to PLAINTIFF, he returned to the Emergency Room once more on April 22, 2016.  This time, he complained of paralysis in his lower extremities.  He was admitted to the hospital and an MRI was ordered.  The MRI led to a diagnosis of epidural abscess (an infection of the spinal canal).  (¶ 32 of Complaint).  A subsequent blood test confirmed an elevated white blood count and a positive protein test result, both of which were consistent with infection. (¶s 33-34 of Complaint).  An additional MRI was requested and Emergency Physicians ordered a neurological consultation.  (¶s 37-38 of Complaint).

PLAINTIFF alleges that he experienced severe pain throughout the night of April 25-26, 2016.  He alleged that by the morning of April 26, he was having difficulty breathing.  (¶ 42 of Complaint).  By 11:22am, PLAINTIFF claims that he had become completely paralyzed.  (¶ 44 of Complaint).  An emergency neurological consult was ordered.  Dr. Narenda Dhaduk, a neurologist, responded to the hospital and confirmed a diagnosis for PLAINTIFF of “epidural abscess of the cervical spine.” (¶ 46, 49 of Complaint).  The PLAINTIFF was then transferred to the Hershey Medical Center for an emergency surgical procedure.  (¶ 49 of Complaint).

According to PLAINTIFF, the individual medical providers he sued unnecessarily delayed evaluation and treatment of his issues.  PLAINTIFF alleges: “A spinal epidural abscess is a true emergency and requires rapid treatment to prevent permanent neurological damage.” (¶ 51 of Complaint).  He faults the DEFENDANTS for failing to timely address his emergency.  As a result of DEFENDANTS’ conduct, PLAINTIFF alleges that he suffered permanent injuries including paralysis, incontinence, loss of sensation, and depression. (¶ 58 of Complaint).

PLAINTIFF has sued numerous individual physicians.  In addition, Count 5 of the Complaint sets forth a claim against “Emergency Medical Associates”. (EMA).  According to PLAINTIFF, EMA is a corporation licensed under the laws of Pennsylvania. (¶ 10 of Complaint).  PLAINTIFF alleges that EMA “operated out of Good Samaritan Health System, an acute care facility…” (¶ 11 of Complaint).  PLAINTIFF argues that all of the individual doctors he sued were employees, agents or ostensible agents of EMA (¶ 13 of Complaint) and that EMA as an entity should be vicariously liable for their negligence. (¶ 97 of Complaint).

Count 7 of the Complaint sets forth a cause of action against the Good Samaritan Hospital Health System.  Count 7 alleged that the individual doctors sued were also working as “agents, servants and employees” of the Good Samaritan Hospital System.  PLAINTIFF alleges in Count 7 that Good Samaritan should be vicariously liable for the negligence of the doctors.

After the initial Complaint was filed, the PLAINTIFF proffered amendments on March 13, 2018.  EMA filed an answer on May 3, 2018.  As a result of objections filed by Dr. Ifeyinwa Echeazu, PLAINTIFF filed a second amended Complaint on May 16, 2018.  On May 28, 2018, EMA filed preliminary objections.  The preliminary objections assert that PLAINTIFF was pursuing a Claim for Corporate Negligence and that no such cause of action exists in Pennsylvania against an emergency room physicians group.  In its response to preliminary objections, EMA acknowledges that it seeks to proffer a corporate negligence claim against EMA. (¶ 6 of Answer to Preliminary Objections).  However, EMA asserts “Pennsylvania Law does permit corporate negligence claims against medical corporations like EMA.” (¶ 7 of Answer to Preliminary Objections).

We conducted an oral argument regarding the preliminary objections on November 2, 2018.  The issue raised by EMA’s preliminary objections is now before the Court for disposition.

 

  1. PRELIMINARY OBJECTIONS – SCOPE OF REVIEW

Pa.R.C.P. 1028(a)(2) permits a party to preliminarily object in order to assert a “failure of a pleading to conform to law or rule of court…”  Pa.R.C.P. 1028(a)(4) permits a party to challenge the legal sufficiency of a  pleading.  The standard by which both types of preliminary objections are analyzed has been recently articulated by our Superior Court as follows:

[W]hen considering preliminary objections, all material facts set forth in the challenged pleadings are admitted as true, as well as all inferences reasonably deducible therefrom.  Preliminary objections which seek the dismissal of a cause of action should be sustained only in cases in which it is clear and free from doubt that the pleader will be unable to prove facts legally sufficient to establish the right to relief.  If any doubt exists as to whether a demurrer should be sustained, it should be resolved in favor of overruling the preliminary objections.

 

Feingold v. Hendrzak, 15 A.3d 937, 941 (Pa.Super. 2011), quoting in part Haun v. Community Health Systems, Inc., 14 A.3d 120, 123, (Pa.Super. 2011).

In the context of medical malpractice litigation, this Court reached the following observation:

In many ways, we appreciate the plight of the medical malpractice Plaintiffs’ practitioner. In most cases, a Plaintiff will have only sketchy information as to the nature of the alleged negligence. We doubt very much that doctors and hospitals will be volunteering documentation or information to make the Plaintiffs’ job easier. We are aware of instances where pre-complaint discovery has been challenged based upon an argument that Plaintiffs have not yet “sufficiently” framed the issue. We are also aware of a recent Allegheny County decision that precludes use of depositions in aid of filing a Complaint.  See Speicher v. Toshok, No. 03-0799 (C.P. Allegheny Co. May 14, 2003).

 

We do not believe that it is fair to create pleading rules that require a Plaintiff to divine what may have taken place behind closed doors at a doctor’s office or hospital.  We also do not believe it is fair to require Plaintiffs to submit pleadings that read like opening statements at trial.

 

On the other hand, more should be required of a Plaintiff than to simply state: “I was not healed” or “I received a bad result”.  Plaintiffs must have a viable theory as to how a medical malpractice Defendant committed negligence and must set forth factual allegations in support of that theory. Without such averments, the issues in dispute cannot be defined and Defendants cannot adequately defend.

 

Rodriguez v. Good Samaritan Hospital of Lebanon, No. 2003-00426 (C.P.Leb.Co. June 24, 2003).

 

III.     ANALYSIS

“Corporate negligence is a doctrine under which a hospital is liable if it fails to uphold the proper standard of care owed the patient, which is to ensure the patient’s safety and well-being while at the hospital.” Thompson v. Nason Hospital, 591 A.2d 703, 707 (Pa. 1991).  Our Appellate Courts have declared that hospitals have the duty to use reasonable care to create and maintain safe and adequate facilities, select and retain competent physicians and oversee all persons who practice medicine within its walls. Sutherland v. Monongahela Valley Hospital, 856 A.2d 55 (Pa. Super. 2004); Welsh v. Bulger, 698 A.2d 581 (Pa. 1997).  Within the context of a corporate negligence claim, a hospital can be liable if it fails to create and enforce adequate policies to ensure quality patient care.  Scampone v. Grane Healthcare, 11 A.3d 967 (Pa. Super. 2010).  Thus, a cause of action for corporate negligence can arise from inadequacy of policies independent of specific individual acts by hospital employees.  Brodowski v. Ryave, 885 A.2d 1045 (Pa. Super. 2005).

While hospitals can be held responsible for coordinating the total health care of their patients, “the same cannot be said for a physician’s practice group.”  Sutherland v. Monongahela Valley Hospital, 856 A.2d 55, 61-62 (Pa. Super. 2004).  Thus, our Appellate Courts have specifically declined to extend the theory of corporate negligence to so-called “physician practice groups”.  Sutherland, Supra; Shannon v. McNulty, 718 A.2d 828 (Pa. Super. 1998); Thompson v. Nason Hospital, Supra.  On the other hand, when a physician’s group provides “comprehensive healthcare” to patients, that group is not necessarily exempt from corporate negligence liability.  Scampone v. Highland Park Care, 57 A.3d 582 (Pa. 2012).

In this case, we have only limited information regarding EMA.  We know from the Complaint that EMA is a corporate entity under whose umbrella a group of physicians practices.  We also know that EMA physicians practice within the walls of a hospital.  Beyond that, there is a vacuum of information.  Is there an agreement between the hospital and EMA?  Are EMA doctors subject to rules and regulations formulated by the hospital?  Do EMA physicians practice anywhere else other than within the walls of the Good Samaritan Health System?  How are physicians operating under the umbrella of EMA compensated?  How are patients billed for services rendered by EMA physicians?  What is the financial relationship between the Good Samaritan Health System and EMA?  These and other questions remain open at this juncture of the litigation.

At oral argument, we asked some of the above questions to DEFENDANTS’ counsel.  In response, counsel referenced the website of EMA and contract documents that have already been provided in discovery.  While this type of information may ultimately be important in determining whether corporate negligence can be asserted against EMA, reliance upon these types of documents highlights why it would not be appropriate for this Court to render a definitive decision regarding corporate negligence at this stage of the litigation.  As we pointed out to counsel, neither the EMA website nor the contract documents have been made part of the Complaint and it would be inappropriate for us to consider such information at the preliminary objections stage of proceedings.

For today, we will deny EMA’s Preliminary Objections without prejudice to the ability of EMA to reassert its arguments via a Motion for Summary Judgment.  At this point, PLAINTIFF’S Complaint should be answered and the above-referenced matter should move forward to the discovery phase of litigation.  An Order to accomplish this will be entered today’s date.

 

 

 

 

 

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