October 25, 2018
In a huge procedural win, Nathan Murawsky secured a victory before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on October 16, 2018. Ms. Nicolaou had sued the St. Luke’s University Hospital Network for failing to diagnose her illness as Lyme disease and instead misdiagnosing it as Multiple Sclerosis. The trial court threw out her case stating that she did not file her lawsuit timely, failing to qualify for the “discovery rule exception” for medical malpractice cases. Upon losing at the trial court, Ms. Nicolaou’s first lawyer withdrew from the case, forcing Ms. Nicolaou to take her appeal to Superior Court on her own — which she lost. At that time, Mr. Murawsky stepped in to represent her and persevered. Mr. Murawsky argued the case in August of 2018 before the Supreme Court, asserting that the lower courts failed to address many of the factual allegations and created a standard that essentially discriminated against those without the financial means or education to understand the entirety of their medical issues. In a rare unanimous opinion, the Justices ruled in Ms. Nicolaou’s favor—ordering that the lower court had erred in its ruling and that Ms. Nicolaou’s was entitled to her day in court.
After the victory Mr. Murawsky said, “This case is a clear victory for victims of malpractice. I would hope this case can be used by future litigants to remind the courts that all facts matter, and that reasonable people can often disagree as to where those facts ultimately lead. I do not believe that the lower courts here maliciously ignored facts, but I do think even Judges need to sometimes be reminded that many people don’t have money to pay for medical testing, or can’t afford health insurance or understand the intricacies of their medical condition. It is incumbent on our courts to remember that many in our society don’t have the education or financial means to take action that others might take for granted. Hence, what is ‘reasonable’ can be vastly different from a person with means vs. one without – and the courts must acknowledge that distinction. I’m glad to see the Supreme Court understood that in its opinion.”