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LARRY C. HOFFMAN v. MEMORIAL OSTEOPATHIC HOSPITAL AND JOHN BATTALINO (05/10/85)

filed: May 10, 1985.

LARRY C. HOFFMAN
v.
MEMORIAL OSTEOPATHIC HOSPITAL AND JOHN BATTALINO, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS AN AGENT AT MEMORIAL OSTEOPATHIC HOSPITAL. APPEAL OF LARRY C. HOFFMAN AT NO. 396 HARRISBURG, 1982. APPEAL OF JOHN BATTALINO, D.O. AT NO. 397 HARRISBURG, 1982



APPEAL OF LARRY C. HOFFMAN at No. 396 Harrisburg, 1982. APPEAL OF JOHN BATTALINO, D.O. at No. 397 Harrisburg, 1982. Appeal from the Judgment entered October 27, 1982, Court of Common Pleas, York County, Civil Division at No. 80-S-1790.

COUNSEL

Donald L. Reihart, Assistant District Attorney, York, for appellant (at 396) and appellee (at 397).

Clyde E. Williamson, York, for appellant (at 397) and appellee (at 396).

Christian S. Erb, Jr., Harrisburg, for appellee.

Wickersham, Johnson and Watkins, JJ.

Author: Johnson

[ 342 Pa. Super. Page 378]

Plaintiff Larry C. Hoffman and defendant John Battalino, D.O., each appeal from the judgment entered in favor of Mr. Hoffman on October 27, 1982.

Hoffman instituted an action in trespass against Memorial Osteopathic Hospital ("Hospital") and Battalino for emotional distress, demanding both compensatory and punitive damages. The action was initially heard by an arbitration panel pursuant to the Health Care Services Malpractice Act

[ 342 Pa. Super. Page 379]

(HCSMA), 40 P.S. ยง 1301.101 et seq.*fn1 Following an award of both compensatory and punitive damages against Battalino and the Hospital, the action was appealed to the court of common pleas. A jury awarded Hoffman $14,000.00 in compensatory damages. A verdict of indemnity was entered by the trial court in favor of the Hospital against Battalino, and delay damages were awarded.

Battalino and the Hospital filed motions for judgment n.o.v. Battalino and Hoffman filed motions for a new trial. All were denied. Hoffman and Battalino then filed the instant appeals.

Hoffman asserts in his appeal that the trial court should have allowed the question of punitive damages to go to the jury. Hoffman also challenges (a) the refusal of the trial court to grant his request for sanctions against Dr. Battalino and the Hospital for their alleged failure to answer interrogatories relevant to the issue of punitive damages, (b) the alleged error by the trial court in excluding evidence concerning the wealth of Dr. Battalino, and (c) the exclusion by the trial court of the verdict entered by the medical malpractice arbitration panel.

Dr. Battalino argues in his cross-appeal that he is entitled to judgment n.o.v. Dr. Battalino argues additionally that the trial judge should not have molded the verdict against him alone. For the following reasons we reverse the determination of the trial court and remand for a new trial.

The standard of review with regard to a refusal to grant a motion for judgment n.o.v. was succinctly stated by our Court in Walsh v. Pennsylvania Gas and Water Company, 303 Pa. Super. 52, 58, 449 A.2d 573, 576 (1982):

[ 342 Pa. Super. Page 380]

In reviewing the denial of a motion for judgment N.O.V., the evidence together with all reasonable inferences therefrom must be viewed in a light most favorable to the verdict winner; all conflicts in the evidence are resolved in favor of the prevailing party. See Gonzalez v. United Page 380} States Steel Corp., 484 Pa. 277, 398 A.2d 1378 (1979); Mike v. Borough of Aliquippa, 279 Pa. Super. 382, 421 A.2d 251 (1980). Evidence supporting the verdict is considered and the rest rejected. Glass v. Freeman, 430 Pa. 21, 240 A.2d 825 (1968). As we said recently, "A judgment notwithstanding the verdict should be entered only in a clear case, when the ...


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