Insight

Pribanic Secures Milestone Verdict in Rural PA County

Ten-time honoree Victor H. Pribanic secured one of 2023’s most notable verdicts in a Pennsylvania county that historically has not been empathic to plaintiffs.

Lawyer sitting at desk with notepad and laptop
JS

Justin Smulison

June 21, 2024 12:00 AM

McKean County is a picturesque rural area located at the northern-most point of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, sharing the border with New York. The County Court of Common Pleas has a track record that has not been favorable to plaintiffs.

“We knew we were facing tough odds, just based on the history of McKean County,” recalled Pribanic & Pribanic Co-Founder Victor H. Pribanic. “Judge Christopher Hauser had never presided over a case where the jury sided with an injured patient in a medical malpractice case.”

In fact, publicly available records indicated that a jury verdict had not been rendered since the start of the 21st century. Pribanic assumed this was likely among the reasons why his clients were offered an extremely low settlement from the defense. Still, he acknowledged the legal arena he was entering and prepared for trial in June 2023.

The Challenge

Pribanic’s client was a 66-year-old elementary school janitor who had lost his left leg below the knee due to the negligence of his physicians; emergency room doctors and his primary care physician (PCP) failed to properly assess his left foot and did not detect an abscess that eventually spread, necessitating an amputation below the knee.

The six-day trial was about to break for a weekend when the defense presented surprise testimony from an emergency room doctor, describing Pribanic’s client as reckless and not taking prescribed antibiotics. That weekend, attorney Sherie Painter Canin, who tried the case along with Pribanic, pored over files and uncovered a hospital document given to the victim with specific instructions for him to stop taking the first antibiotic. As Pribanic cross-examined the ER doctor the following Monday, he was able to expose the mistruths by displaying the defendant doctors’ signature at the bottom of the script.

The Solution

Next, Pribanic cross-examined the defense’s internal medicine expert. He used a hypothetical example of caring for one of his English Settlers, Pitty Pat, whose paw was injured during a hunting excursion; his analogy included the many steps he and the veterinarian would take to ensure they knew where the dog’s injury was and how he’d present the information to a veterinarian. Pribanic had received some chuckles throughout the tale, and finally asked the doctor, “Was my client entitled at least as good a level of care Pitty Pat received?”

The doctor responded, “Yes,” to which Pribanic replied, “Was it done?” And he had to reply, truthfully, “It wasn’t documented.”

“I suspected the defense lawyers would poke fun at me as well, which they did during closing arguments,” said Pribanic, a career-long member of the American Association for Justice and the Pennsylvania Association of Trial Lawyers. “But this helped strengthen our case by reinforcing in the minds of the jury just how simply our client’s injury could have been avoided.”

It is this sort of creative thinking that has kept Victor Pribanic at the forefront of catastrophic injury law, and why he was named Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” in 2024 in Pittsburgh in two areas – Product Liability Litigation–Plaintiffs and Medical Malpractice–Plaintiffs. To date, he has earned this honor 10 times since 2010, having previously won four times for Product Liability Litigation, three times for Medical Malpractice, and once for Personal Injury Litigation.

The Record-Breaking Result

The strategy proved effective. The jury returned a $3.25 million verdict for the client, the first medical malpractice plaintiff award since 2000 and the largest verdict in the history of McKean County. As they often do, one of the jurors later contacted Pribanic & Pribanic to commend Victor for his representation.

“I asked her if the jury was bothered by my analogy to Pitty Pat,” Pribanic said. “She replied, ‘Not at all. We all realized this man had received worse treatment than a dog.’ It was an important trial where we were bucking the odds.”

These sorts of challenges drive Pribanic & Pribanic’s team, and their innovative solutions enable them to proudly maintain their place as leaders in catastrophic injury law.

Headline Image: Pribanic & Pribanic

Related Articles

"Lawyer of the Year"


Lawyer in suit posing for headshot

Harris J. Chernow

Franchise Law

Philadelphia, PA

2024

IN PARTNERSHIP

Salvi & Maher, LLP: Legal Leaders in Illinois and Wisconsin


by Justin Smulison

For more than 35 years, Salvi & Maher LLP has defended their clients throughout Illinois and Wisconsin in various areas of personal injury law, including medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, premises liability and trucking litigation.

Salvi & Maher Law Firm group in front of legal library and cases of books

6 Ways a Lawyer Can Help You With Your Medical Malpractice Claim


by Adam Malone

If you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Read on to learn how they can help with your claim.

Doctor in white lab coat showing x-ray to patient in blue scrubs

IN PARTNERSHIP

The Immeasurable Impact of Advocacy


by Justin Smulison

Burg Simpson founder Michael S. Burg discusses how the firm’s results transcend the courtroom to improve life for consumers and professionals nationwide.

Lawyer posing in a checker suit

IN PARTNERSHIP

Protecting and Fighting for Florida’s Future


by Justin Smulison

Trial lawyer and Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year” multiple times, Steve Yerrid discusses how his courtroom results have improved safety and life in Florida.

Lawyer in blue suit smiles for headshot photo

IN PARTNERSHIP

Salvi & Maher, LLP: Illinois and Wisconsin's Personal Injury Firm


by Justin Smulison

For more than 35 years, Salvi & Maher LLP has defended their clients throughout Illinois and Wisconsin in various areas of personal injury law, including medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, premises liability and trucking litigation.

Skyline of Chicago with green river and blue background

IN PARTNERSHIP

Emroch & Kilduff: Virginia's Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice Attorneys


by Emroch & Kilduff

For over 40 years, the award-winning Virginia-based firm Emroch & Kilduff has worked to represent their personal injury clients in both state and federal courts.

Skyline with water and bridge on blue background

IN PARTNERSHIP

Needle & Ellenberg: Helping Victims of Medical Malpractice Receive Compensation Throughout Florida


by Needle & Ellenberg

Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. discuss five common types of medical malpractice that can help determine if you have a potential claim.

Doctor with hand on face reviewing scan with another doctor in backdrop

IN PARTNERSHIP

Leadership and Commitment


by Justin Smulison

Malone Law leader and 2016 Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs “Lawyer of the Year” Adam Malone discusses how his success transcends the courtroom and helps strengthen public and legal communities.

Suited man standing with arm resting on table

Catastrophic Personal Injury


by Best Lawyers

Trial legend Frank Branson finds success mixing technology and new skills with vast courtroom experience.

Catastrophic Personal Injury

IN PARTNERSHIP

Proving Negligence in a South Carolina Personal Injury Case


by Wyche

In South Carolina, as in other states, there are specific elements of negligence that must be established for a successful personal injury claim.

How to Prove Negligence in a South Carolina Personal Injury

IN PARTNERSHIP

What Will a Car Accident Lawyer Actually Do for You?


by Nick Norden

Getting into a car accident is stressful. Keep reading for insight into how a car accident attorney can help you recover the compensation you need and deserve.

Steering wheel with deployed airbag

IN PARTNERSHIP

How Much Time Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Kentucky?


by Jay Vaughn

If you or a loved one has suffered due to someone else's actions, depending on the state, personal injury claims could still be a viable legal option.

Hand holding a gavel strikes down bench with people in backdrop

Mail-in Ballot Mayhem: Pennsylvania’s Current Electoral Mix Up


by Gregory Sirico

An appeals court recently stated that Pennsylvania has a glaring discrepancy with its mail-in ballot, which, if left untreated, could result in invalid votes.

U.S. ballot box with voting signage

Legal Distinction on Display: 15th Edition of The Best Lawyers in France™


by Best Lawyers

The industry’s best lawyers and firms working in France are revealed in the newly released, comprehensive the 15th Edition of The Best Lawyers in France™.

French flag in front of country's outline

Announcing the 13th Edition of Best Lawyers Rankings in the United Kingdom


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is proud to announce the newest edition of legal rankings in the United Kingdom, marking the 13th consecutive edition of awards in the country.

British flag in front of country's outline

Trending Articles

Presenting The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2025


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is proud to present The Best Lawyers in Australia for 2025, marking the 17th consecutive year of Best Lawyers awards in Australia.

Australia flag over outline of country

Legal Distinction on Display: 15th Edition of The Best Lawyers in France™


by Best Lawyers

The industry’s best lawyers and firms working in France are revealed in the newly released, comprehensive the 15th Edition of The Best Lawyers in France™.

French flag in front of country's outline

How To Find A Pro Bono Lawyer


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers dives into the vital role pro bono lawyers play in ensuring access to justice for all and the transformative impact they have on communities.

Hands joined around a table with phone, paper, pen and glasses

How Palworld Is Testing the Limits of Nintendo’s Legal Power


by Gregory Sirico

Many are calling the new game Palworld “Pokémon GO with guns,” noting the games striking similarities. Experts speculate how Nintendo could take legal action.

Animated figures with guns stand on top of creatures

Announcing The Best Lawyers in New Zealand™ 2025 Awards


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is announcing the 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in New Zealand for 2025, including individual Best Lawyers and "Lawyer of the Year" awards.

New Zealand flag over image of country outline

Announcing the 13th Edition of Best Lawyers Rankings in the United Kingdom


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is proud to announce the newest edition of legal rankings in the United Kingdom, marking the 13th consecutive edition of awards in the country.

British flag in front of country's outline

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Japan™ 2025


by Best Lawyers

For a milestone 15th edition, Best Lawyers is proud to announce The Best Lawyers in Japan.

Japan flag over outline of country

The Best Lawyers in Singapore™ 2025 Edition


by Best Lawyers

For 2025, Best Lawyers presents the most esteemed awards for lawyers and law firms in Singapore.

Singapore flag over outline of country

Announcing the 16th Edition of the Best Lawyers in Germany Rankings


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers announces the 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in Germany™, featuring a unique set of rankings that highlights Germany's top legal talent.

German flag in front of country's outline

How Much Is a Lawyer Consultation Fee?


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers breaks down the key differences between consultation and retainer fees when hiring an attorney, a crucial first step in the legal process.

Client consulting with lawyer wearing a suit

Celebrating Excellence in Law: 11th Edition of Best Lawyers in Italy™


by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers announces the 11th edition of The Best Lawyers in Italy™, which features an elite list of awards showcasing Italy's current legal talent.

Italian flag in front of country's outline

Presenting the 2024 Best Lawyers Employment and Workers’ Compensation Legal Guide


by Best Lawyers

The 2024 Best Lawyers Employment and Workers' Compensation Legal Guide provides exclusive access to all Best Lawyers awards in related practice areas. Read below and explore the legal guide.

Illustration of several men and women in shades of orange and teal

Things to Do Before a Car Accident Happens to You


by Ellie Shaffer

In a car accident, certain things are beyond the point of no return, while some are well within an individual's control. Here's how to stay legally prepared.

Car dashcam recording street ahead

Combating Nuclear Verdicts: Empirically Supported Strategies to Deflate the Effects of Anchoring Bias


by Sloan L. Abernathy

Sometimes a verdict can be the difference between amicability and nuclear level developments. But what is anchoring bias and how can strategy combat this?

Lawyer speaking in courtroom with crowd and judge in the foreground

The Push and Pitfalls of New York’s Attempt to Expand Wrongful Death Recovery


by Elizabeth M. Midgley and V. Christopher Potenza

The New York State Legislature recently went about updating certain wrongful death provisions and how they can be carried out in the future. Here's the latest.

Red tape blocking off a section of street

Attacked From All Sides: What Is Happening in the World of Restrictive Covenants?


by Christine Bestor Townsend

One employment lawyer explains how companies can navigate challenges of federal and state governmental scrutiny on restrictive covenant agreements.

Illustration of two men pulling on string with blue door between them