Pennsylvania’s Highest Court Rules In Favor of Plaintiffs on the Use of Defenses.

The case in question in was Bruno v. Erie Insurance Company. There, a family became sick due to mold in their home. The family had previously made a claim under the mold coverage on their homeowners’ policy. At that time, an Engineer hired by Erie stated that the mold was harmless and problems associated with mold were overblown. When family members became sick, they hired a local attorney and sued Erie and its engineer.

Erie attempted to defeat their claim with the Gist of the Action Doctrine, claiming that because there was an insurance contract between the family and Erie, a tort lawsuit could not be pursued. The engineer claimed that the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure required the family and their attorney file a certificate of merit as a barrier to proceeding with the lawsuit. On appeal the Supreme Court held that Erie and its engineer were wrong on both issues. The decision was a victory for consumers and injured people in Pennsylvania.

Berger and Green Attorney Mark Milsop serves on PAJ’s Amicus Curiae Committee as its vice chair. “Amicus Curiae” means friend of the Court. In this context, it refers to a brief filed by an entity that is not a party to the case on behalf of others who may be affected by its rulings. PAJ is a statewide organization of trial lawyers. The organization is comprised primarily of attorneys who represent injured people. The organization’s Amicus Curiae Committee consists of volunteer attorneys who file briefs with the Pennsylvania Appellate Courts on key issues that affect the rights of injured people to receive a fair jury trial.