Wednesday, March 08, 2017

arbitration - appeal - Pa. RCP 1311.1 - voluntary limit on $ damages - WCPL attorney fees not "damages"

Grimm v. Universal Medical Services, Inc. – Pa. Superior – March 1, 2017

On appeal from arbitration in breach of contract and wage case, Plaintiff elected to limit recovery money damages to $25,000, under Pa. R.C.P. 1311.1, in excchange for easing of evidentiary rules concerning introduction of documents.  Plaintiff prevailed on wage claim under Wage Payment and Collection law, 43 P.S. 260.1 et seq., which provides for attorney fees for prevailing plaintiff.   The court also granted plaintiff attorney fees.  The total award of damages plus attorney fees was greater than $25,000.00.

Held, attorney fee award under WCPL was not “damages” under Pa.R.C.P. 1311.1, citing LaRue v. McGuire, 885 A.2d 549 (Pa. Super. 2005); Dolan v. Fissel, 973 A.2d 1009 (Pa. Super. 2009); Allen v. Mellinger, 784 A.2d 762 (Pa. 2001) and language from WCPL that fee award is “in additionl to any judgment” awarded to plaintiff.