Summary Judgment • Personal Injury • “Serious Injury” • 75 Pa.C.S.A. §1705(d)

Haubrich v. Staniszewski, PICS Case No. 14-0160 (C.P. Monroe Jan. 9, 2014) Williamson, J. (8 pages).

The court denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment in this personal injury matter result from a motor vehicle accident.

On April 11, 2011, the parties were involved a motor vehicle accident in Stroudsburg, Monroe County. Plaintiff was just over 37 weeks pregnant at the time. As the result of the accident, plaintiff underwent an emergency C-section, 12 days prior to her scheduled C-section on April 25, 2011. Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging she sustained injuries to her neck and lower back from the accident, and seeking to recover expenses incurred by her for medical treatment relating to the injuries sustained in the accident.

Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that plaintiff failed to show a “serious injury” as required by 75 Pa. C.S.A. §1705(d). Defendant argued plaintiff failed to cross the limited tort threshold of establishing impairment, or serious impairment of bodily function resulting from a motor vehicle accident. In the motion, defendant requested entry of summary judgment with respect to the limited tort threshold. Defendant’s motion also asked for a determination that plaintiff was precluded from recovery of noneconomic damages.

Plaintiff contended there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the injuries sustained constituted a serious impairment of a bodily function. She argued that the emergency C-section impaired her ability to carry her unborn child to the scheduled delivery date.

The court agreed with plaintiff, indicating that a jury could find the injury sustained by plaintiff qualified as a serious injury. Be-cause reasonable minds could differ on the issue of whether a serious injury had been sustained, the matter was best left to a jury to make a factual determination. Accordingly, defendant’s motion for summary judgment was denied.