SGRV Attorneys Brooke Madonna and Bruce Bellingham Awarded Summary Judgment

SGRV Attorneys Brooke Madonna and Bruce Bellingham Awarded Summary Judgment

On June 10, 2024, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted a motion by Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci P.C. of Counsel Brooke C. Madonna and Senior Litigation Counsel Bruce Bellingham, awarding summary judgment in favor of their client in the case styled Tammaro v. County of Chester, Pocopson Home, 2:21-cv-03811 (2021). The case concerned Federal Nursing Home Reform Amendment claims against Pocopson Home, a municipal skilled nursing facility in which a resident suffering from dementia-related food disorder died after choking on soft food. Despite a Department of Health investigation finding that a negligence complaint against Pocopson was unsubstantiated, the decedent’s executor brought suit under 42 U.S. C. § 1983, claiming that the County Commissioners, as “final policymakers,” deprived the decedent of her civil rights “under color of state law” by deliberate indifference to a custom or policy of failing to train the Pocopson staff. The plaintiff executor moved to amend her complaint to name the Pocopson’s Administrator and Nursing Director as “final policy makers” after the depositions had been taken. Pocopson opposed the motion to amend, and the Court denied plaintiff’s motion.

Hon. Judge Kai Scott granted summary judgment in favor of the County Commissioners because the plaintiff had no evidence that the Commissioners were on notice of any alleged deficiencies in the training of Pocopson’s staff. The Court agreed with the County’s argument that the plaintiff had no evidence that the Commissioners were aware of, or indifferent to, alleged unconstitutional practices at Pocopson. He also found that the plaintiff’s fallback argument that Pocopson’s managers were the true “final policymakers” was made too late and was precluded by a prior ruling that amendment would be futile as, under Pennsylvania law, the managers of a municipal facility reported to the County Commissioners who were the true final policymakers. The upshot was that all claims against Pocopson failed.

As Of Counsel at the firm, Brooke C. Madonna has gained experience in trial and appellate work in both state and federal courts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida. Ms. Madonna practices commercial litigation with a primary focus in employment law including sexual harassment, Family Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act and all forms of discrimination. Ms. Madonna also regularly represents individuals and businesses in cases involving real estate, construction, fraud, collection and casualty defense.

Bruce Bellingham’s legal work is divided between commercial litigation with an emphasis on dispositive motions and appellate advocacy; copyright infringement work and representation of artists, arts organizations, and content creators; and business advice and contract work generally for small to medium sized firms and individuals. He has been elected a Super Lawyer by his peers in the field of intellectual property (copyright) in the years 2015-2024.

Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci P.C. has represented clients nationally and internationally for nearly 50 years and provides counsel and expertise across the entire spectrum of legal practice, from complex litigation to sophisticated transactional and corporate matters. The firm has offices in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Florida, and New York.


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