Gary Samms Discusses Section 515 Motions in the Legal Intelligencer

July 17, 2023

Gary Samms, who chairs Obermayer’s Professional Liability Practice Group and the Catastrophic Loss Group, was quoted on July 13, 2023, in The Legal Intelligencer. The article, titled “In Rarely Used Argument, Temple Says $25.9M Verdict Would Hurt the Community” discusses Temple University Hospital’s attempts to whittle down the $25.9 million medical malpractice verdict under Section 515 of Pennsylvania’s Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act.

Section 515 directs trial courts to consider evidence of a verdict’s potential impact on a community’s health care access when deciding a defendant’s motion for remittitur on the grounds of excessiveness.

According to Gary Samms, who is not involved in the Temple matter, remittitur arguments under Section 515 are extremely rare. In fact, he said, he has only seen them once. But that one time, they worked. It was in 2015 when Samms was brought in to handle post-trial proceedings following a $5 million verdict against PMA Medical Specialists. He used Section 515 to shave $1.5 million off the total award.

Gary said the argument that a verdict could deal a blow to a community’s health care access is particularly strong in light of the wave of hospital closures that has been sweeping across the Philadelphia area.

“These verdicts are a contributing effect,” Samms said, “and so when somebody claims that these verdicts can affect the feasibility of a hospital, it is not posturing, it is a factual statement and an economic reality.”

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