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Zachary Arbitman, of Youman & Caputo. Zachary Arbitman, of Youman & Caputo.

Medical malpractice plaintiffs often find themselves suing several parties—one or more hospitals, multiple physicians and other health care providers—for the negligent care they received. And though each case differs, plaintiffs counsel in these types of matters are often presented with tactical decisions leading them to explore the release of one party but not others. A key consideration in determining who to release is that Pennsylvania law does not allow a party to release an agent (for example, a physician) and maintain claims against a principal (for example, a hospital) when the claims against the principal are premised on vicarious liability. It is therefore imperative that plaintiffs counsel seeking joint tortfeasor agreements (JTAs) in the medical malpractice setting be abundantly clear as to the claims—and parties—they are releasing.

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