Robert J. Aldrich, III

Associate

As a member of the Health Care Department, Rob devotes his practice to the defense of medical and dental malpractice, nursing home negligence, and other health care matters. Rob has represented nursing homes, doctors, dentists, oral surgeons, anesthesiologists, physician groups, surgical centers, medical device companies, podiatrists, physician assistants, certified registered nurse practitioners and nurses in a multitude of malpractice actions.  Rob also handles professional liability matters, including employment law and school civil rights, trucking defense, premises liability and other general liability defense.

Rob’s clients appreciate his deep personal investment in each case. He utilizes his skills as a persuasive writer, efficient litigator and practical thinker to develop effective defense strategies. Rob also has extensive knowledge of the judicial system, enabling him to analyze cases from the court’s perspective.

As an active member of the legal community, Rob serves as an at-large board member of the Pennsylvania Defense Institute. He is also an active speaker and author on topics including management of health risk and claims, electronic medical records, audit trails and long-term care.

Rob obtained his juris doctor from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School and graduated magna cum laude. His undergraduate education culminated with receipt of a Bachelor of Science degree from Pennsylvania State University. Prior to beginning his career as a litigator, Rob completed judicial clerkships with the Honorable J. Michael Eakin of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and the Honorable Margherita Patti Worthington of the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas.

Significant Representative Matters

Obtained dismissal of all claims against an optometrist in an alleged medical malpractice and civil rights violation claim brought by an inmate at a state correctional institution. Rob filed a Motion to Dismiss on numerous grounds, including that the plaintiff’s claims were timed barred by the statute of limitations, failure to state a viable cause of action, and failure to file a Certificate of Merit pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1042.3. The judge ultimately granted the motion and dismissed all claims, finding that plaintiff’s claims violated Pa.R.C.P. 1042.3 and the statute of limitations, and that the plaintiff failed to meet his burden that the discovery rule applied.

Received a unanimous defense jury verdict within thirty minutes of deliberation in a five-day fire-loss subrogation trial. This case was one of the first Pennsylvania civil jury trials held during the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking into account safety and social distancing protocols, jury selection took place in a local school auditorium, two witnesses presented testimony via Zoom, and everyone present in the courtroom was subject to temperature screenings and required to wear a face covering. Given the current national health situation, this trial could serve as an example of how the court system and counsel can adapt to the changing health and legal landscape. 

Obtained entry of judgment of non pros based on the plaintiff’s failure to timely and properly file a Certificate of Merit (COM) in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. 1042.3 on behalf of a nursing home chain and its consulting company. With the Complaint, plaintiff attached an expert report from a nursing expert but did not attach a COM. Defendants filed a Notice of Intent to Enter Judgment of Non Pros, and judgment was subsequently entered. The plaintiff then filed a Petition to Strike/Open the Entry of Judgment of Non Pros, arguing that the expert report attached to the Complaint constituted a COM. The defense successfully fought the plaintiff’s attempts to open the judgment. The Court ultimately found that plaintiff’s repeated failures to comply with the applicable rules placed their case “beyond the purview of equitable relief,” and therefore reinstated the entry of judgment and dismissed plaintiff’s Complaint with prejudice.

Received a defense verdict in less than one hour in a dental malpractice case involving allegations of the use of excessive force and the failure to obtain the patient’s informed consent after a patient’s jaw was fractured during a molar extraction. It was admitted that jaw fracture was a known risk of the extraction, but that the dentist did not warn the patient of this risk. It was also conceded that the dentist caused the fracture. Lastly, the patient’s damages were not contested, which included the pain and suffering associated with the fracture and permanent numbness to the lower jaw. On cross-examination of the patient’s seasoned expert, he was confronted with prior inconsistent testimony regarding his experience in extracting molars and his opinion that all risks of a procedure need to be shared with the patient. Further, the expert agreed with the defense’s argument that the risk of jaw fracture of an erupted right lower molar was less than .0009% and the patient had a better chance of dying from complications associated with the extraction than suffering a fracture. The jury was persuaded by the defense’s arguments early in the case due to the thorough cross-examination of the patient’s expert. 

Obtained a defense verdict in a nursing negligence claim. The plaintiff alleged to have suffered a fall in a hospital bathroom three days post-operatively that  re-injured his surgically repaired knees. The nurses denied the patient fell to the ground and testified, consistent with their charting, that the patient lost balance in the bathroom and sat on a commode. There was a significant economic damage claim in that the plaintiff was a young restaurant owner who suffered two distinct orthopedic injuries that required multiple surgeries and additional future care. The jury returned a defense verdict 50 minutes after deliberation began, finding that the nurses were not negligent.

Obtained a defense verdict on behalf a midwife defendant in an alleged failure to properly manage and care for a patient's labor and delivery, resulting in catastrophic injury to her child. Counsel for the minor-plaintiff argued that the pregnancy and labor were high risk and, therefore, it was below the standard of care to use intermittent auscultation (IA) during the second stage of labor. The plaintiff argued that the fetus suffered a catastrophic brain injury during the second stage of labor, resulting in cerebral palsy and daily intractable seizures. The child, six years of age, wheelchair bound and unable to speak or feed himself, will require lifetime supervision and care. The defense argued that the patient's pregnancy remained low risk, and therefore, IA was within the standard of care; that a sentinel event did not occur during the second stage of labor; and that child's brain injury occurred in the days leading up to the hospital admission for labor.

Obtained an entry of judgment on behalf of an urgent care physician. The plaintiff filed suit in magisterial district court in Wayne County, alleging that the physician negligently sutured a hand laceration, leading to dehiscence and the need for subsequent surgery. The plaintiff sought recovery of medical expenses and pain and suffering. At the bench trial, the defense sought dismissal based upon the plaintiff’s lack of expert support for her claims, as is required in medical malpractice claims. The court agreed and entered judgment in the defendant’s favor.

Obtained summary judgment in New York on behalf of a car dealership client. The dealership rented a vehicle to co-defendant, who was having his personal vehicle serviced at the dealership. That co-defendant was in an accident with the plaintiff while operating the dealership’s rental. The plaintiff was operating a motorcycle and significant damages were alleged. The defense filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to The Graves Amendment, which states that an owner of a motor vehicle that rents a vehicle to a person shall not be vicariously liable for harm to persons or property that arises out of the use or operation of that vehicle during the period of the rental, so long as certain additional criteria is met. The court agreed with the arguments raised in the motion and dismissed our client with prejudice.

Classes/Seminars Taught

Legal Marketing on LinkedIn: Learn How Law Firms are Leveraging LinkedIn’s Unique Data and Environment to Engage Clients and Prospects to Grow Their Business, Pennsylvania Defense Institute Annual Conference, Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania, July 15, 2021

21st Century Cures Act, webinar, Pennsylvania Association for Health Care Risk Management Spring Conference, April 15, 2021

Jury Trials in the Era of COVID-19, webinar, September 24, 2020

Preparing A Claim for Trial: How Recent Issues, Decisions and Trends Are Impacting Litigation Outcomes, client webinar, June 4, 2020

A Recurring Nightmare: Department of Health Citations and Their Impact on Corporate Liability and Punitive Damages, Marshall Dennehey Health Care and Health Law Seminar, November 7, 2019

2018 Update: The EMR, Audit Trails and Mobile Devices: How to Narrow Your Professional Liability Exposure, 14th Annual Medical Liability Insurance ExecuSummit, Uncasville, Connecticut, October 17, 2018

The Impact of Department of Health Violations on Corporate Liability, PAHCRM Spring Conference, Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, April 13, 2018

Published Works

“Pennsylvania Superior Court Reinforces Evidentiary Issues Commonly Raised in Medical Malpractice Trials,” Defense Digest, Vol. 26, No. 1, March 2020

"The Whole Is NOT Greater Than Its Parts - Third Circuit Applies Component-Level Analysis To Preemption of Hybrid Medical Devices," CounterPoint, April 2018

"Negligent Advice of a Class III Medical Device Sales Rep," The Legal Intelligencer, Medical Malpractice Supplement, April 11, 2017

Admissions
Pennsylvania
2013
U.S. District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania
2013
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
2013
U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania
2018
New York
2020
U.S. District Court Northern District of New York
2021
Education
Thomas M. Cooley Law School (J.D., magna cum laude, 2013)
The Pennsylvania State University (B.S., 2009)
Honors & awards
Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch©, Health Care Law, Medical Malpractice Law - Defendants
2021-Present
Associations & memberships
Pennsylvania Defense Institute, At-Large Board Member
Year joined
2016