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RAO BOGGAVARAPU AND VANI BOGGAVARAPU v. RICHARD PONIST AND CAROL PONIST (05/20/88)

decided: May 20, 1988.

RAO BOGGAVARAPU AND VANI BOGGAVARAPU, HIS WIFE, APPELLEES,
v.
RICHARD PONIST AND CAROL PONIST, HIS WIFE, APPELLANTS, V. EAST SUBURBAN HEALTH CENTER AND SHABBIR LAKDAWALA, M.D., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court entered July 1, 1987 at No. 586 Pittsburgh, 1986, affirming the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County entered March 20, 1986 at No. G.D. 81-31476, Civil Division. Pa. Super , 531 A.2d 28 (1987)

COUNSEL

James A. Beinkemper Wayman, Irvin & McAuley, Pittsburgh, for appellants.

Michael Louik, Berger, Kapetan, Malakoff & Meyers, Pittsburgh, for Rao Boggavarapu, et ux.

Anita B. Folino Kiger, Alpern, Schadel & Folino, Pittsburgh, for East Suburban Health Center and Shabbir Lakdawala, M.D.

Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Zappala, Papadakos and Stout, JJ.

Author: Mcdermott

[ 518 Pa. Page 164]

OPINION

Appellants, Richard and Carol Ponist, appeal from an order of the Superior Court, 368 Pa. Super. 634, 531 A.2d 28, affirming an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County granting the motion for new trial of appellees, Rao and Vani Boggavarapu.

[ 518 Pa. Page 165]

Two puncture wounds were inflicted on the right arm of Mr. Boggavarapu, when he was bitten by his neighbor's dog. He went to the emergency room of the East Suburban Health Center where the wounds were covered by a bandaid and two tetanus shots were administered. Mr. Boggavarapu filed suit for pain and suffering and medical expenses of some $9,000. His wife as co-plaintiff sued for loss of his consortium. Because Mr. Boggavarapu complained of injury to his sciatic nerve, allegedly caused when the tetanus needle pierced that nerve, the hospital and treating physician were joined as additional defendants by the appellants (Ponists), owners of the dog.

It is hornbook law, that one is responsible for the consequences of his tort. Spangler v. Helm's New York-Pittsburgh Motor Exp., 396 Pa. 482, 153 A.2d 490 (1959). Original tortfeasors therefore are primarily liable for all that befalls the one they injure in the hands of those whose treatment is required. Thompson v. Fox, 326 Pa. 209, 192 A. 107 (1937). If that treatment negligently exacerbates the original injury both become tortfeasors and both must answer to each other in compensating the injured for the losses they inflict. As between the tortfeasors one may do more than the other and each must proportionally pay as the jury determines. Lasprogata v. Qualls, 263 Pa. Super 174, 397 A.2d 803 (1979); Restatement (Second) Torts ยงยง 457, 434.

In his charge, the learned trial judge carefully laid those concepts before the jury.

". . . if you find that they [the Ponists] were negligent and that their negligence was the substantial factor in Mr. Boggavarapu being bitten and he went and in the natural course of events to, or the natural sequence of events, the East Suburban Hospital for treatment, then he got injured through the negligence of the hospital or through the negligence of Dr. Lakdawala, or if you find they weren't negligent but somehow or another he had an ...


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