Joseph Traub has dedicated his career to obtaining justice for people injured or killed by others’ wrongdoing. Mr. Traub has had the great privilege and responsibility of representing people catastrophically injured by defective industrial and consumer products, unsafe construction practices, dangerous driving and serious medical errors. For example, he has helped to secure significant recoveries for a man thrown from a scissor lift with poor lateral stability, a woman whose arm was pulled into a commercial ironing roller that lacked a guard over its pinch point, a family struck by a drunk driver, and a man whose throat cancer was missed by a pathologist, among many others. His work has helped provide financial relief, as well as justice and resolution, to injured people and their families, while also pressing manufacturers to sell safer products and hospitals to ensure safer medical practices.
Since 2010, Mr. Traub has been co-author, together with federal Judge Gerald McHugh, of the annual supplement to Pennsylvania Torts, a treatise in the West Pennsylvania Practice Series published by Thompson-Reuters that is an essential resource for personal injury litigators. Mr. Traub is on the editorial board of The Verdict, the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association’s monthly newsletter, which gives members practice tips and makes them aware of important developments in the law, enabling them to advocate more effectively on behalf of their clients. He has lectured and published articles on recent developments in products liability law, legal ethics, strategies in construction litigation, mandatory arbitration agreements, the statute of repose, and federal preemption, among other topics.
Mr. Traub’s advocacy in Pennsylvania’s appeals courts has resulted in several positive developments in the law. In appeals on behalf of Mr. Traub’s clients, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has published opinions ensuring funds are available to compensate malpractice victims where a doctor’s insurance carrier goes bankrupt (Heim v. Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund, 23 A.3d 506 (Pa. 2011)) and allowing medical experts to testify where they are familiar with the care at issue, even if they do not practice in the same specialty as the defendant (Vicari v. Spiegel, 989 A.2d 1277 (Pa. 2010)). Mr. Traub volunteers on the Amicus Curiae Committee of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, where he submits briefs to the appellate courts of Pennsylvania advocating for the rights of injured people throughout the Commonwealth. One amicus curiae brief he submitted helped persuade the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to preclude doctors from defending themselves at trial by telling the jury what risks the doctor disclosed to the patient before doing a procedure, where the lawsuit does not criticize the disclosure but merely alleges that the doctor did the procedure negligently. (Brady v. Urbas, 111 A.3d 1155 (Pa. 2015)).
Mr. Traub lives in Haddon Township, New Jersey with his wife. They regularly get to see their daughter perform with a renowned Philadelphia-based contemporary ballet company. Their dog, Marley, is a 12-year-old Pomeranian/Poodle mix. In his free time, Mr. Traub enjoys running and playing drums in a band.
Preliminary Objections to Corporate Negligence Claims: Re-Reading Scampone
Reprinted from PTL Verdict | Volume 2015-2016 Issue 4
It seems that the implications of the Supreme Court’s unanimous 2012 opinion in Scampone v. Highland Park Care Center, LLC1 still have not sunk in, judging from recent preliminary objections to corporate negligence claims in medical malpractice actions. Some still read the decision as merely adding nursing homes to the list of categories of entities that can be held liable for corporate negligence. But the decision went much further: it overthrew the analysis that had come to predominate under Superior Court applications of Thompson v. Nasson Hospital. Under Scampone, the viability of corporate negligence claims must be analyzed under traditional tort principles; it is not a function of whether the healthcare entity at issue is either a hospital or like a hospital. Plaintiffs now have much greater flexibility in making out claims against institutional defendants.
The MCARE Act’s Statute of Repose: Harsh Consequences
Reprinted from PTL Verdict | Volume 2015-2016 Issue 6
The recent dismissal of claims in four Philadelphia County medical malpractice actions is a reminder of the harsh consequences of the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (MCARE) Act’s Statute of Repose. According to the opinions accompanying the orders of dismissal, the Statute of Repose goes beyond eliminating medical negligence claims; it eliminates any claim whatsoever, even against a doctor who knowingly operated on his patients unnecessarily, and against the institution that delayed in disclosing the misconduct.
Invalidating Arbitration Agreements: Wert and Wisler
Reprinted from PTL Verdict | Volume 2016-2017 Issue 2
In recent years, it has become an increasingly widespread practice among corporations to impose mandatory
arbitration agreements on their clients/customers. By doing so, they attempt to ensure disputes will be resolved
in a secret venue more favorable to corporate interests than a jury trial. There is something particularly troubling
about a nursing home imposing mandatory arbitration on its patients, especially given a family’s vulnerability at the
moment an ailing loved one is being signed up for desperately needed care.
Mandatory Arbitration: Agencies vs. Congress
Reprinted from PTL Verdict | Volume 2016-2017 Issue 3
While the Pennsylvania appellate decisions discussed in this double issue of the Verdict are inconsistent in protecting the rights of our citizens, the battle to ensure fairness with respect to mandatory arbitration is having greater success through federal agency regulations. When Congress created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) in 2010, it gave it the power to restrict the use of mandatory arbitration agreements by financial services providers. At the time it created the CFPB – during the immediate aftermath of the Great Recession – it would appear Congress appreciated the hazards posed by banks with too much power over consumers. How soon they forget. When the CFPB tried to use
its power to regulate mandatory arbitration in May of this year, Congress quickly threatened to take the
New Jersey Medical Malpractice Actions and the Tort Claims Act
Reprinted from PTL Verdict | Volume 2016-2017 Issue 4
New Jersey’s Tort Claims Act (TCA) is a potential and probably unexpected peril of filing a medical malpractice suit in New Jersey. The TCA is New Jersey’s sovereign immunity statute. It provides immunity from suit for governmental entities and employees, except under certain defined conditions. One of the conditions is compliance with a 90 day notice requirement. You read that right: under NewJersey’s TCA, a claim may not be brought against a public entity or employee unless notice is given 90 days after the accrual of the claim. The notice must contain information prescribed by the statute, including name and address of the claimant, date, place and circumstances of the occurrence giving rise to the claim, and a description of the injuries.
18,300,000.00 Verdict for Young Driver Partially Paralyzed in One-Car Accident
On a warm Saturday night, a young man was driving his car along a freshly paved stretch of country road when he came to a small bridge. He didn’t know that the construction company, that was repaving the road, had just milled a small area adjacent to a bridge, leaving a two inch high ridge along the expansion joint. Without any warning so he could slow down, the driver hit the ridge, causing his car to go out of control and slam into a stone wall, causing him to become partial paralyzed. Although the construction company argued that the accident was due to the young driver speeding, the Raynes McCarty team convinced the jury that the construction company and the engineering firm, that was supposed to be overseeing the work, caused the accident.
$15,000,000 Confidential Settlement for Improper Prescription of Blood Thinner
When a young man suffered a massive brain bleed while on Lovenox, a blood-thinner, his family turned to Stephen Raynes to investigate whether his medical treatment was appropriate. The massive brain bleed caused the man to be quadriplegic with lock-in-syndrome. Because the drug had been only recently introduced to the market, there was a dearth of epidemiological evidence regarding the safety of its use. Stephen Raynes led the Raynes McCarty team with Tim Lawn and Joe Traub to assemble a team of experts in pharmacology, FDA labeling, hematology, internal medicine and cardiology and determined that there was no proper scientific evidence that the prescribed blood thinner was as safe as the available standard blood thinners in this clinical setting. As a result of those efforts, the team secured a confidential settlement to ensure financial security and medical services for the client and his family.
Seven Figure Settlement for Disabled Woman Strangled by Medical Alert Lanyard
Medical alert buttons are oftentimes used by the elderly and disabled to call for emergency assistance in case they have fallen. The buttons are usually attached to a lanyard, worn around the neck. When Carol, who was confined to a wheelchair, slipped out of her seat, the lanyard caught on the chair, resulting in her strangulation. Martin Brigham was asked by Carol’s family to investigate the safety of lanyards and soon learned that tragically, Carol’s death was only one of several caused by medical alert lanyards. These deaths could have all been prevented by incorporating a break-away fastener into the lanyard. Right after the federal court allowed Mr. Brigham to amend the Complaint so he could seek punitive damages, the case resolved.
Joseph Z. Traub
Attorney At Law
Toll Free: 1.800.535.1797