Pennsylvania Supreme Court Extends Corporate Negligence to Nursing Homes

/ 04.Dec, 2012

A unanimous Pennsylvania Supreme Court has affirmed the extension of the corporate negligence doctrine beyond hospitals to nursing homes.   Nearly a full year after it was argued, the court has issued a forty-four page opinion authored by Chief Justice Castille in the case of Scampone v. Highland Park Care Center, LLC, holding courts must weigh the five factors found in the Althaus v. Cohen decision to decide corporate negligence for healthcare facilities: (1)  the relationship  between  the  parties;  (2)  the  social  utility  of  the  actor’s  conduct;  (3)  the nature  of  the  risk  imposed  and  foreseeability  of  the  harm  incurred;  (4)  the consequences of imposing a duty upon the actor; and (5) the overall public interest in the proposed solution.  The opinion appears to step back from the Thompson v. Nason Hospital decision, and broaden the scope of the “comprehensive health center” concept.  Professional liability avoidance best practices require medical facilities of all types be more aware than ever that they may bear liability for the actions of their employees.

-Josh J.T. Byrne, Esquire