Appeals from the Order of the Administrator of Arbitration Panels for Health Care in the case of Dolores Harmer, Administratrix of the Estate of Mary Frances Szeliga, Deceased v. Horsham Hospital, Inc. and Robert W. Kalish, M.D., No. M77-0037.
William P. Murphy, with him James E. Beasley and G. Taylor Tunstall, Jr., of counsel, Beasley, Hewson, Casey, Colleran, Erbstein & Thistle, for petitioner.
James C. Haggerty, with him Richard L. Goerwitz, Jr., Swartz, Campbell & Detweiler, for respondents.
Judges Mencer, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 526]
The administratrix of the estate of Mary Frances Szeliga appeals from two orders of Administrator Arthur Frankston, the Administrator of Arbitration Panels for Health Care, which denied the estate's motions for the award of delay damages pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. No. 238 and for the inclusion of the administratrix' bond and deposition expenses in the award of taxable costs.
The estate had filed the motion for delay damages with the administrator after the arbitrators entered their decision awarding the estate $9,235.00 and $116,848.46 in survival and wrongful death actions, respectively, against Horsham Hospital. The administrator denied the motion on the ground that he had no authority to make such an award, because Pa.
[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 527]
R.C.P. No. 238*fn1 confers that power only upon courts and, in this context, upon the arbitrators appointed under the Health Care Services Malpractice Act.*fn2 We agree.
The language of the rule is unambiguous and does not purport to confer any such authority upon the administrator. Nor does the Act itself confer upon the administrator authority to award any kind of damages.
The estate's argument, that the administrator occupies the role of a court under the rule, is not well taken. Such an interpretation would amount to reading into the rule a reference which the context does
[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 528]
not support; it would make meaningless the apparent exclusivity of the direction that the arbitrators make such an award as part of their decision. As Administrator Frankson succinctly wrote: "If the Supreme Court had intended for the Administrator to act, it would have so indicated as it ...