Commonwealth v. Williams

Williams appealed after a jury convicted him of first-degree murder and related charges. On appeal, he made two primary arguments. First, Williams asserted the trial court erred when it denied his pretrial motion, which challenged the admissibility of the Commonwealth expert’s testimony regarding forensic video analysis. Second, Williams claimed the trial court erred when it … Read more

Lanzo v. Cyprus Amax Minerals Co.

In Lanzo v. Cyprus Amax Minerals Co., two defendants appealed from a judgment, which awarded the plaintiffs $117 million in compensatory and punitive damages, and other orders entered by the trial court during the course of this litigation. The defendants’ primary argument on appeal was that the trial court erred by admitting expert testimony. The … Read more

Mazzie v. Lehigh Valley Hosp.

In Mazzie v. Lehigh Valley Hosp., the defendants in a medical negligence matter appealed after a jury found in favor of the plaintiffs. The defendants claimed that they should have been awarded a JNOV because the plaintiff’s expert did not testify “to a reasonable degree of medical certainty” that the defendants’ actions caused the injury. … Read more

Sullivan v. Werner Co.

In Sullivan v. Werner Co., the plaintiff (no relation to Sullivan of S | S) filed a strict products liability action after he fell through a scaffold made by Werner Company and sold by Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (collectively, Manufacturer). A jury determined that a design defect caused the accident and awarded $2.5 million in damages. On … Read more

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