HARRISBURG – The state Superior Court has affirmed a Delaware County Common Pleas Court ruling granting summary judgment to Riddle Memorial Hospital and Main Line Health Inc. in a negligence case.
Patrick J. McHale III filed a complaint for the estate of Betty Jane McHale after she had tripped over a parking bumper in a parking garage owned by Riddle Memorial Hospital and Main Line Health.
“As appellant has not persuaded us that the trial court committed an error of law or abused its discretion, we affirm the trial court’s order granting summary judgment to RMH/MLH,” Judge John T. Bender wrote in the Sept. 22 decision.
John L. McManus Inc., Shewardship Partnership LLC, Timothy Haas & Associates Inc., Traffic & Safety Signs Inc. and Strip-A-Lot Inc. were also named in the complaint, but the appeal only challenged the propriety of the entry of summary judgment in favor of RMH and MLH.
According to the ruling, after falling over a parking bumper on her way back to her vehicle after a cardiac rehabilitation appointment, Betty McHale slipped into a coma from which she never regained consciousness.
After the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of RMH and MLH in September 2015, Patrick McHale filed an appeal the same month.
In the appeal, McHale raised several issues, including whether the trial court:
-Failed to apply an appropriate standard of review when considering motions for summary judgment;
-Erred when it concluded that McHale didn’t present enough evidence to prove RMH/MLH had breached its duty of care to Betty McHale; and
-Erred when it concluded there was no basis for a jury to decide that Betty McHale tripped and fell over the bumper.
The court also considered whether statements that Betty McHale made at the scene and in the emergency room were admissible under Pennsylvania law.
The court ruled it “would be conjecture to find that RMH/MLH’s purported failure to maintain painted parking bumpers or compliant walkways caused decedent to fall.”
The court also noted that there would be no basis in fact for a jury to side with McHale’s theory of the accident over any other possible theory given a lack of meaningful evidence. It also suggested there was no evidence linking RMH/MLH’s parking bumper and walkway and Betty McHale’s injuries.
The case was heard by Bender, Senior Judge John L. Musmanno and Judge Jacqueline O. Shogan.