Feldman Shepherd is pleased to announce that Co-Managing Shareholder Mark W. Tanner has been honored as a recipient of The Legal Intelligencer’s Power Players Award. The award recognizes attorneys who, through their advocacy, made a significant impact in 2021 on public policy, legislation or jurisprudence in Pennsylvania. Mr. Tanner will receive the award at a reception on June 29, 2022.
For more than 30 years, Mr. Tanner has devoted his practice to helping victims of automotive/motor vehicle accidents, construction and workplace accidents, insurance company bad faith, medical malpractice, personal injuries, dangerous premises, defective products, sexual abuse and civil rights violations. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and has been recognized every year since 2007 as one of the Top 10 Super Lawyers in Pennsylvania.
In 2021, Mr. Tanner secured a ruling by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania that sets the stage for a new way of thinking about suicide-liability cases. In Estate of Henry v. Colangelo, et al., No. 1579 M.D.A. 2020, 2021 WL 3737050 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2021), the Superior Court affirmed an order overruling preliminary objections by an unqualified layperson who undertook to act as a qualified mental health professional, leading to his “patient’s” death by suicide. The opinion suggests that theories of either professional negligence or ordinary negligence may apply. The opinion also clarifies that liability may be imposed when a “professional’s” actions foreseeably lead to suicide, effectively limiting the impact of the 1989 Superior Court decision in McPeake v. Cannon, P.C., which defendants had routinely relied upon for the general rule that absent recognized exceptions, there is no wrongful death liability in cases of suicide.
In Pennsylvania, there were 2,017 suicide deaths in 2018, according to the Department of Health. Defendants routinely rely upon McPeake in suicide-liability cases, arguing suicide is unforeseeable. Mr. Tanner’s victory in the Superior Court offers a glimmer of light and hope that suicide-liability cases will be handled with an updated and different manner of thinking going forward.
“Mark continues to not only be an extraordinary advocate for his clients, but to use his skills to expand the rights of all Pennsylvanians,” said Co-Managing Shareholder Alan M. Feldman. “We are proud of his many contributions to improve access to justice.”
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