Insurer must pay $13.6M after Moses Taylor death
THE TIMES-TRIBUNE - SCRANTON, PA
By Erin L. Nissley
Attorneys, victim's family to split the settlement.
A supplemental insurer who reneged on a 2007 settlement in a wrongful death suit must now pay the victim's family $13.6 million.
The award is the result of a protracted legal battle over the 2002 death of 44-year-old Donna M. Kapacs. The Archbald woman's family filed suit against Moses Taylor Hospital and others after she died at the hospital three days after undergoing cardiac catheterization, a procedure used to test the heart's ability to pump blood.
Mrs. Kapacs bled to death after her femoral artery was perforated during the procedure, and doctors and hospital staff should have recognized and responded to the bleeding, the lawsuit claimed. Attorney Joseph A. Quinn Jr., who represented the family, said a settlement of $4.5 million was reached with Moses Taylor Hospital in January 2007. But the hospital's excess insurance carrier, Lexington Insurance Co., declined to cover the settlement.
Excess insurance is used to supplement primary insurance, although the excess provider usually reserves the right to become involved with claims.
"Based on my conversations with (the hospital's attorneys), I thought that something didn't sound right," Mr. Quinn said. "At the time, Moses Taylor Hospital was in a perilous financial situation. We decided to defer collection of settlement from them."
Instead, Mr. Quinn was given permission to represent Moses Taylor in an existing lawsuit against Lexington Insurance Co. and other insurance brokers affiliated with it, claiming breach of contract, negligence and bad faith.
The case was scheduled to go to trial in front of Judge Carmen Minora in March, but was put on hold while the settlement was reached. It was approved by Judge Minora last month.
"You don't see this kind of situation every day," Mr. Quinn said. "Moses Taylor recognized this was a valid claim, and they had paid the premium for the insurance coverage."
Lexington Insurance will pay a total of $5.44 million to HKQ Law and Lenahan & Dempsey, the two law firms handling the cases. The remainder of the $13.6 million settlement will go to Mrs. Kapacs' husband, John K. Kapacs, and her four children: Dawn Schuster, Tracy Kapacs, Ann Marie Kapacs and John Kapacs, Jr.
PLEASE NOTE: Every case is fact specific, and these results do not guaranty the same results will be obtained in a different case.
About HKQ Law
HKQ Law is considered one of the top civil litigation and commercial law firms in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The firm’s Personal Injury Team has won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in the region's history and was recently recognized for one of the top 20 Verdicts in Pennsylvania.
The Personal Injury Team, led by Attorney Joseph A. Quinn, Jr. focuses on a wide array of personal injury claims and civil litigation, including medical malpractice, auto and truck accidents, aviation accidents, unsafe vehicles, dangerous or defective products, workplace injuries (worker's compensation), construction site accidents, claim denials by insurance companies, dangerous drugs, defective children's products, nursing home abuse and neglect, and falls due to unsafe conditions (slip and fall).
Attorney Joseph A. Quinn, Jr. is one of only 100 attorneys in the United States (and one of only three in Pennsylvania) honored with membership in the Inner Circle of Trial Advocates, and one of only 500 attorneys worldwide chosen to be a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He has been a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer every year since the program began and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America every year since the publication was established in 1987. Best Lawyers also named him top personal injury attorney for Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. In addition, Best Lawyers, in conjunction with U.S. News & World Report, has designated HKQ a Tier 1 Best Law Firm for personal injury and medical malpractice litigation in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.
Since the inception of the firm, the Commercial / Corporate Team led by Attorney Allan Kluger has provided comprehensive, integrated legal services to many of Northeastern and Eastern Pennsylvania's largest corporations, businesses, banks, non-profits and institutions, handling matters involving labor and employment, wills, trusts and estate planning, estate administration, elder law, commercial transactions, residential and commercial real estate, zoning, land use and development, telecommunications, mediations and arbitrations, commercial litigation, title insurance, business planning and business succession, corporate/business structuring, employment discrimination law for employers, banking, creditor’s rights, finance, lender liability defense, covenants not to compete, construction law, mergers and acquisitions and other business matters.
Additional information can be found at www.HKQLaw.com or by calling (800) 760-1529.