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Lawyer Sanctioned $1M Over Smoking Reference

November 6, 2014

The Legal Intelligencer
By P.J. D'Annunzio

Defense attorney Nancy Raynor has been sanctioned for close to $1 million for allowing a defense expert to make a prohibited reference to smoking in a lung cancer-related medical malpractice case that resulted in a mistrial.

In an order issued Tuesday, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Paul P. Panepinto, in Sutch v. Roxborough Memorial Hospital, sanctioned the founder of Malvern, Pa.-based Raynor & Associates, detailing Raynor’s penalty for failing to instruct medical expert Dr. John J. Kelly to not mention deceased plaintiff Rosalind Wilson’s smoking history.

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Michael Hayes, a legal ethics attorney at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads, said he could not recall another case where a lawyer was hit with sanctions as severe as those against Raynor.

“This is absolutely on the higher realm of the sanctions spectrum,” Hayes said. “You can see sanctions in these circumstances, but it depends on what the expert says and whether the lawyer knows or should know what the expert will say.”

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