In a decision that is sure to grab the attention of the personal injury bar, a federal judge has ruled that a settling plaintiff cannot be automatically required to reimburse the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare for 100 percent of her Medicaid expenses because a settlement always reflects a compromise.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Berle M. Schiller comes just a few months after lawyers at Kline & Specter secured a settlement worth nearly $12 million in a “state-created danger” suit against the Philadelphia Housing Authority over persistent mold in a home that allegedly triggered an acute asthma attack and left a teenage girl brain damaged.