Conflict with client leads plaintiff attorney to withdraw from malpractice case

By Nicholas Malfitano | Nov 9, 2015

Marsha F. Santangelo  

PHILADELPHIA – A plaintiff's attorney in a wrongful death and malpractice case cited procedural conflicts and differences of opinion with her client as her reason for withdrawing from the litigation.

Marsha F. Santangelo of the Beasley Firm in Philadelphia filed a motion to withdraw appearance on Oct. 1. During the discovery period, Santangelo explained she and plaintiff Heather Finnerty developed “an insurmountable difference of opinion” on continued representation.

Though the deadline to file a formal complaint in this matter was Oct. 8, Santangelo filed a secondary motion for a protective order to extend that deadline. Santangelo also seeks a 60-day stay of all legal proceedings.

A hearing in this matter was set for Wednesday in Court chambers, at Philadelphia City Hall.

The incident this matters centers on is the August 2014 death of Finnerty’s daughter, 23 year-old Amanda Hopkins, of advanced colorectal cancer. Finnerty believes Hopkins’ death was caused by a delayed diagnosis from her primary care doctor.

In connection with Hopkins’ death, Finnerty filed a Writ of Summons in March 2015 against Dr. Swetha Voddi of Ewing, N.J. (Hopkins’ primary care doctor at the time of her diagnosis and death), Dr. Michael Rafferty of Huntingdon Valley (Hopkins’ former primary care doctor), Einstein Community Health Associates, Inc. and Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, both of Philadelphia.

The Writ of Summons was summarily re-issued on April 20, May 20, June 11, July 10 and Aug. 31, according to court records, but no complaint has been filed yet. Currently, the deadline for discovery to conclude is Oct. 3, 2016 and the action should be ready for trial in April 2017.

The plaintiff is seeking damages under the Pennsylvania Wrongful Death and Survival Acts in this case.

The defendants are represented by Gary M. Samms in Philadelphia, Donna M. Modestine in King of Prussia and Eileen K. Keefe of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 150302726

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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