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Late v. United States

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

August 14, 2014

CHRISTINA LATE AND NATHAN ARMOLT, AS PARENTS AND NATURAL GUARDIANS OF D.A., A MINOR AND IN THEIR OWN RIGHT, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM

SYLVIA H. RAMBO, District Judge.

Presently before the court is a motion in limine implicating whether an award of future medical expenses must be reduced to present value during a bench trial. This motion relates to a claim for personal injury brought against the United States of America under Section (b)(1) of the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1346, wherein Plaintiffs seek to recover, inter alia , future medical expenses for the alleged personal injuries suffered by minor-plaintiff during his birth. The parties have fully briefed the issues, and, for the reasons that follow, the court will deny the motion in its entirety.

I. Discussion

Resolution of the matter sub judice hinges on whether the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error ("MCARE") Act, 40 P.S. § 1303.509, requires an award of future medical expenses to be reduced to present value. Plaintiffs argue that the court should grant their motion in limine to exclude Defendant's expert, Mark Weinstein, MBA, from opining as to the present value of Defendant's life care plan because the statute neither requires nor permits a reduction to present value. ( See Doc. 31, pp. 3-6.) Defendant urges the court to deny Plaintiffs' motion because the statute at least requires a present value calculation for purposes of determining counsel fees, but contends that future medical expenses should be paid periodically based on the present value of the expenses awarded by the trier of fact.[1] (Doc. 40, p. 12-14 of 16.)

Section 1303.509 of the MCARE Act provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

(a) General rule. - In a medical professional liability action, the trier of fact shall make a determination with separate findings for each claimant specifying the amount of all of the following:
* * *
(2) Future damages for:
(i) medical and other related expenses by year;
(ii) loss of earnings or earning capacity in a lump sum; and
(iii) noneconomic loss in a lump sum.
(b) Future damages. -
(1) Except as set forth in paragraph (8), future damages for medical and other related expenses shall be paid as periodic payments after payment of the proportionate share of counsel fees and costs based upon the present value of the future damages awarded pursuant to this subsection. The trier of fact may vary the amount of periodic payments for future damages as set forth in subsection (a)(2)(i) from year to year for the expected life of the claimant to account for different annual expenditure requirements, including the immediate needs of the claimant. The trier of fact shall also provide for purchase and replacement of medically necessary equipment in the years that expenditures will be required as may be necessary.
(2) The trier of fact may incorporate into any future medical expense award adjustments to account for reasonably anticipated inflation and medical care ...

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