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VINCENT LASPROGATA v. DONALD M. QUALLS (02/02/79)

decided: February 2, 1979.

VINCENT LASPROGATA
v.
DONALD M. QUALLS, M. D., APPELLANT, AND LANKENAU HOSPITAL, ZIMMER U.S.A. AND ZIMMER/RODEWAL ASSOCIATES AND DONALD DORMER, ADDITIONAL DEFENDANT, APPELLEE



No. 1240 October Term, 1978, Appeal from the Order Dated February 17, 1978, of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Civil Action-Law, at 75-15083.

COUNSEL

William F. Sutton, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Joseph M. Walker, Norristown, for appellee, Donald Dormer, additional defendant.

Cercone, Spaeth and Lipez, JJ.

Author: Cercone

[ 263 Pa. Super. Page 177]

This is an appeal from an order of the Common Pleas Court of Montgomery County which granted additional defendant's motion for summary judgment and dismissed appellant-defendant's complaint against additional defendant. We affirm the decision of the lower court.

This action resulted from a traffic accident wherein the plaintiff, Vincent Lasprogata sustained a fractured right femur. An open reduction operation was performed on the femur and a metal plate was inserted and attached with two screws. One of the screws allegedly broke which impeded the healing process and necessitated further treatment.

Prior to the instant action, Lasprogata brought suit in trespass against Donald Dormer, the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident, alleging that Dormer's negligence was the proximate cause of his injuries. That lawsuit was concluded when Lasprogata signed a general release in which he released Dormer, for a sum of $15,000.00, from further liability on the claim. The release specifically stated it applied to "Donald Dormer only." Subsequently, Lasprogata brought suit against Dr. M. Qualls, the physician who performed the open reduction surgery, the hospital, and the manufacturer and distributor of the surgical products involved. Dr. Qualls joined Donald Dormer as an additional

[ 263 Pa. Super. Page 178]

    defendant alleging that the injuries averred by the plaintiff were proximately caused solely by Dormer's negligence in the auto accident. Qualls' complaint alternatively averred that Dormer was "liable for contribution with defendants, or jointly or severally liable."

Dormer moved for summary judgment on the basis of the release he had executed with Lasprogata in the prior action. The lower court granted the motion after appellant doctor had filed an answer and memorandum of law opposing the motion. Appellant doctor's motion for reconsideration and reargument was denied and this appeal followed.

Appellant asks us to address two issues*fn1 which we believe revolve around the central question of whether the operator of the vehicle which injures a plaintiff and the physician who allegedly rendered negligent treatment of those injuries are joint tortfeasors. The lower court found as a matter of law that the original wrongdoer and the treating physician were ...


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