Pennsylvania Appellate Courts Uphold Nonsuit Obtained By Jack Delany In $11.5 Million Construction Death Case
By Order dated April 5, 2023, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania refused to review the Superior Court’s affirmance of a 2021 nonsuit obtained by Jack Delany in hotly contested litigation stemming from the death of a construction worker. John Hare and Shane Haselbarth handled the appeal along with Jack.
The Supreme Court’s ruling ends more than five years of litigation that arose from the construction worker’s death while he was involved in the Pier 78 renovation project on the Delaware River in Philadelphia. The plaintiff sued the general contractor and others involved in the project and ultimately settled with the general contractor for $10.5 million. The general contractor then pursued a contractual indemnification claim against Jack Delany’s concrete subcontractor client on the Pier 78 project. The indemnification claim included the $10.5 million settlement plus approximately $1 million in attorneys’ fees.
The case proceeded to trial in 2021 and, at the close of the general contractor’s case-in-chief, Jack moved for and was granted a nonsuit on the basis that the general contractor was the deceased construction workers’ statutory employer pursuant to the five-element test set forth by the PA Supreme Court in McDonald v. Levinson Steel, 153 A. 424 (Pa. 1930). The case was especially notable because, rather than retaining an attorney to address the reasonableness of the amount of the underlying settlement, which is typical, Jack retained an economist to explain that, based upon his analysis of comparable cases, the settlement amount was excessive.
The general contractor appealed the nonsuit. In an unanimous decision dated September 30, 2022, the Superior Court affirmed. The Supreme Court denial of allowance of appeal brings the lengthy litigation to an end.