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JOHN T. SHADLE v. DR. LOUIS PEARCE (05/29/81)

filed: May 29, 1981.

JOHN T. SHADLE, APPELLANT,
v.
DR. LOUIS PEARCE



No. 2511 October Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County at No. 77-5379

COUNSEL

Lester L. Greevy, Jr., Williamsport, for appellant.

Peter J. Curry, Harrisburg, for appellee.

Brosky, Watkins and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Montgomery

[ 287 Pa. Super. Page 437]

The Plaintiff-Appellant files the instant appeal from the order of the lower court granting summary judgment in favor of the Defendant-Appellee. The sole issue presented by this appeal is whether the lower court erred in finding that the Plaintiff's claim was barred by the applicable statute of limitations.

The record shows that the case involved a personal injury action brought both in trespass and assumpsit by a patient against his dentist. The action was initiated by a praecipe for writ of summons on December 20, 1977. The Defendant filed a rule upon Plaintiff to file a complaint. A complaint was thereafter filed and Defendant filed an answer containing new matter. The Plaintiff thereafter made a reply to the new matter. Subsequently, after discovery in the case,

[ 287 Pa. Super. Page 438]

    the Plaintiff filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, seeking to determine the effect of the statute of limitations upon his claim. The parties stipulated to the relevant facts in the lower court. Based upon such facts the lower court found that Plaintiff's claim was barred by the applicable statute of limitations.

The facts stipulated to by the parties were set forth as follows, in the lower court opinion:

"On September 14, 1972, the plaintiff was treated by the defendant dentist for an abscessed tooth. It is alleged that the defendant dentist was negligent in his treatment. In December of 1972 the plaintiff developed a heart problem which resulted in his hospitalization from December of 1972 through February 1973. His condition was diagnosed as bacterial endocarditis. In February of 1973 an aortic valve transplant was performed. On or about February 20, 1973 the plaintiff learned that the condition had resulted from the negligence of the defendant dentist in failing to properly treat the abscessed tooth in September of 1972.

Following the aortic valve transplant in February of 1973, the plaintiff had an excellent recovery. He returned to work with few limits on his activity. The only job-related limitation on his activity was that he performed less overtime work than he had performed in the past. He was covered by medical and hospitalization insurance and by a wage continuation plan and therefore he suffered no significant economic loss by reason of his treatment for the aortic valve complication. The plaintiff made a decision during this period not to sue the doctor as a result of the aortic valve problems.

In January of 1976, the plaintiff developed an aortic aneurysm which was secondary to the valve transplant. It is alleged that the aneurysm has drastically affected the Plaintiff's life; has rendered him totally incapacitated; severely restricts his ...


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