Povrzenwich v. Ripepi

In Povrzenwich v. Ripepi, a medical malpractice suit, Plaintiff appealed the judgment entered in her favor. Plaintiff, the verdict winner below, contended that she was entitled to a new trial limited to damages because the trial court erroneously precluded the testimony of her expert life care planner, a nurse, as to Plaintiff’s future medical expenses. … Read more

In re M.R.

In re M.R. involved consolidated appeals in which the Philadelphia Department of Human Services (“DHS”) appealed from the orders adjudicating dependent M.R. and his twin sister, J.R. (collectively, “Children”), but not finding child abuse as to the parents. At issue in the appeals was whether the trial court abused its discretion by admitting the testimony … Read more

State v. Gerena

In State v. Gerena, the Appellate Division declined to follow precedent from the New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals. If you practiced in front of the Court of Errors and Appeals, you probably expect cocaine to be in your next bottle of Coca Cola. Instead, the Appellate Division held that it is within the … Read more

Commonwealth v. Jones

In Commonwealth v. Jones, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that opinion testimony from a detective, who was not qualified as an expert, concerning the behavior of a child victim in response to sexual abuse, informed by that detective’s training and experience, constituted expert testimony under PA Rules of Evidence 701 and 702. The Court then … Read more

Commonwealth v. Chmiel

In Commonwealth v. Chmiel, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court considered an appeal from the denial of PCRA relief in a capital case. The defendant challenged the microscopic hair analysis used at his trial. The Court took “this opportunity to admonish that testifying examiners must acknowledge the inherent limitations and assiduously avoid the forms of over-claiming and … Read more

Commonwealth v. Williams

In Commonwealth v. Williams, after he was convicted of murder, the defendant asserted that the trial court committed a host of evidentiary errors. The Court held: 1. It was proper for the trial court to admit the deceased victim’s text messages into evidence under the party-opponent exception to the rule against hearsay; 2. The Commonwealth … Read more

Commonwealth v. Bonnett

In Commonwealth v. Bonnett, the Superior Court reviewed a trial court’s decision to deny the defendant a Frye hearing to challenge the methodology of a Commonwealth witness. The witness at issue was a purported expert in the field of fire investigation. The defendant claimed that the expert witness did not employ the methodology that they claimed … Read more

U.S. v. Heinrich

The 3rd Circuit probably wants its decision in U.S. v. Heinrich to be read more by district judges than by lawyers. The district judge “ruled” that the defense could not call a particular expert based on Rule 403. But that “ruling” came from the judge’s law clerk during an off-the-record telephone call in which the district … Read more

Carl v. Johnson & Johnson

In Carl v. Johnson & Johnson, which involved multi-county baby powder litigation, the Appellate Division ruled that the trial court abused its discretion when it barred the plaintiff’s’ experts’ opinions on causation. The Court held that the experts’ opinions were based on sound methodology applied to data upon which experts in their field may reasonably … Read more

Walsh v. BASF

In Walsh v. BASF, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that a trial court may not question the merits of an expert’s scientific theories, techniques, or conclusions, and it is not part of the function of a trial court to assess whether it considers those theories, techniques, and/or conclusions to be accurate or reliable based upon … Read more