In a case before the Pennsylvania Superior Court, the issue on appeal was whether the trial court had properly granted summary judgment in favor of a defendant who was not the driver of the striking vehicle in a car accident lawsuit. In this case, the court reviewed the victims’ allegations that the defendant had failed to deny he was the driver of the vehicle and their contention that the lower court erred in granting summary judgment in his favor.

car accident

On September 17, 2011, Bettie Moore and Edna Northcutt were struck from behind while stopped in their vehicle at a red light. An ambulance transported them to the hospital, and the collision was witnessed by the Springfield Police.

The plaintiffs brought their negligence claim against Brendan Gilligan as the driver of the car that struck them, eight days before the statute of limitations was set to expire. After the parties conducted discovery, Gilligan replied he was not the driver involved in the incident, nor did he have personal involvement in the incident. He named his niece, Ashley Jest, as the driver of the striking vehicle. Gilligan filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted by the trial court.

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In a recent personal injury case, the Pennsylvania Superior Court stated that the issue was whether the trial court should have allowed a new trial on the damages issue, which would mean that the verdict was so inadequate it should have shocked the trial court’s sense of justice. The court reviewed the considerations that aid a determination that a verdict is inadequate, such as whether the verdict fails to provide justice to the plaintiff and whether it is so inadequate it should not be permitted to stand.  The appellate court found that in this case, the jury verdict was not shocking, nor was the refusal to grant a new trial.

SUV accident

Kimberly Folino brought a lawsuit against Nathaniel Kaule and his father, Michael Kaule, on the ground that Nathaniel negligently operated Michael’s plumbing truck when he rear-ended her new SUV.  Liability was not seriously contested, and the main jury issue was both economic and non-economic damages for the plaintiff, Ms. Folino.

Ms. Folino alleged that she suffered bodily injuries, including a herniated disc that had not resolved and a concussion that had. Two medical witnesses testified as to the causal relationship between the collision and Ms. Folino’s injuries. The evidence stated that Ms. Folino suffered setbacks due to work-related activities and that these setbacks affected her ability to do her job, since her job entailed heavy lifting.

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Recently, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reviewed a judgment in a premises liability lawsuit brought by a woman injured in Giant Food Stores.  The court analyzed Pennsylvania law concerning the duty owed by a property owner to business invitees, and it affirmed the lower court’s judgment that the plaintiff had not presented evidence that Giant deviated from the applicable standard of care.  In other words, there was not enough evidence for a jury to find that the store created a dangerous condition that caused her to fall, or that it failed to perform reasonable inspections that would have revealed the dangerous condition.

supermarket liability

Veronica Honis testified that she was in the checkout aisle of the Giant on Locust Street in Hazelton on June 23, 2010.   While Mrs. Honis’ husband bagged groceries, she went to an end cap display to retrieve ice cream, and as she returned to the aisle, she stepped on a small bottle of Red Bull and fell, causing injuries to her body.  Before falling, neither Mrs. Honis nor her husband observed the bottle in the aisle.

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Recently, the Pennsylvania Superior Court addressed the admissibility of evidence in a lawsuit alleging negligence and strict products liability claims against a car manufacturer and a car seat manufacturer.  The court turned to recent case law and assessed whether, after a nonsuit was entered on the negligence claim, certain evidence remained admissible for the strict products liability claim.

accident fatality

Mark Webb, the administrator for the estate of Sabino Webb, appealed a judgment in favor of Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, Volvo Cars Corporation (“Volvo”), and Graco Children’s Products, Inc. Mr. Webb alleged various theories of liability, including strict liability and negligence, in a crashworthiness case.  The case stemmed from a fatal car crash that took place between a 1997 Volvo Sedan and a Chrysler PT Cruiser.  As the Volvo made an unsafe left-hand turn across traffic, it crossed into the path of the oncoming PT Cruiser.  The Volvo was struck on the rear passenger side door, and two-month-old Sabino Webb was in his Graco car seat in the rear passenger seat.  The baby died, and Mr. Webb brought this action for monetary damages for the death of his son, on behalf of himself and the estate.

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In a recent opinion, the Pennsylvania Superior Court examined whether an award of damages in an injury lawsuit was properly calculated, considering the comparative fault of the plaintiff and the award of bicycle liabilityuninsured motorist benefits already received.  The court looked at the plain language of the insurance contract, with the goal of carrying out the clear intent of the jury.

An accident occurred in Delaware County when Brian Pusey was attempting to cross Baltimore Pike on his bicycle, and a vehicle driven by Monique Rollerson collided with Brian’s bike. Joanne Pusey, the natural guardian of Brian Pusey, who was a child, filed a lawsuit to recover damages on his behalf..

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Recently, the Pennsylvania Superior Court addressed whether a lower court’s judgment in favor of the defendants’ summary judgment motions was proper in a boating accident lawsuit.  The issue in this case was whether the court erred by finding there were no genuine issues of material fact concerning vicarious liability and violations of Pennsylvania law.boat liability

In this case, Joshua DeVitis brought a lawsuit on behalf of his wife, Gina DeVitis, following her death.  He alleged that Keith Dasher and Eagle Rock Community Association (ERCA) were responsible for Gina’s death.  Gina had been part of a group partying on a boat on a private lake. The boat was navigated by Mr. Dasher.  Mr. Dasher attached a floating dock owned by ERCA and relocated it.  Gina used the dock and entered the lake. Joshua followed and then found Gina floating in the water with no signs of life.

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Recently, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court addressed whether an employee had suffered an injury in the course and scope of employment, under the state Workers’ Compensation Act. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPennsylvania law requires that for a workplace injury to be compensable, the injury or accident must occur in the course and scope of employment. At issue in the present case was whether the injury was related to the employment, since the employee fell in his employer’s parking lot.

James Shaw testified that while working at the warehouse of Quality Bicycle Products, he received a telephone call indicating that his daughter was missing from school. He informed his manager he had to leave work due to a family emergency. While hurrying to his vehicle, about 10-12 feet away in the parking lot of the warehouse, he felt his knee pop and suffered excruciating pain. He fell to the ground and was taken to the hospital. Days later, he underwent knee surgery.

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The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania addressed a case involving a fatal injury to a worker.  To successfully present a workers’ compensation claim in Pennsylvania, an injured worker must prove the alleged work injury was suffered in the course and scope of employment.  If the injury is fatal, it presents a challenge regarding who can testify as to the accident.

Pennsylvania Court

Judith Dietz filed a fatal claim petition on behalf of her husband, Robert Dietz, who worked for Lower Bucks County Joint Municipal Authority (“Employer”) as a field maintenance worker for 20 years. Mr. Dietz’s job included jackhammering to dig up roads, repairing water main breaks, and cutting tree roots out of the sewer system. At the age of 48, Mr. Dietz suffered a fatal heart attack while working on the job.

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In a recent case before the Pennsylvania Superior Court, an underlying workplace injury claim developed into an insurance dispute. At issue was whether an insurance company’s exclusion violated public policy, and whether their definition of a “borrowed employee” already had been litigated in a lower court.  The appellate court reviewed the record, finding in favor of the insurance company.

Employee Jose Noe Castillo Ramos worked for BK Packaging Services, Inc.  Astra operated the facility where Mr. Ramos worked.  In 2009, Mr. Ramos suffered a serious injury to his arm and hand while cleaning an exhaust fan.  Mr. Ramos filed a workers’ compensation claim following his injury.


The Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ) rendered a decision on Mr. Ramos’ claim that found that he was employed by BK and not a “borrowed employee” of Astra at the time of the accident.  Westfield Insurance was a party to the proceeding.  Westfield had issued a commercial liability policy and a workers’ compensation policy to Astra.  According to the WCJ’s decision, the Westfield Insurance workers’ compensation policy did not cover Mr. Ramos’ injuries.

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The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently determined a case involving a choice of law between Pennsylvania and Maryland in a personal injury lawsuit.  Significantly, in this case, the issue of which state law applied significantly affected the outcome of the case.  While the accident at issue took place in Maryland, the injured victim was a resident of Pennsylvania. Maryland has a contributory negligence statute, while Pennsylvania has a comparative negligence statute.  Since the plaintiff in this case was deemed partially responsible for his injuries, he would be barred from recovering compensation under Maryland law.

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Darrell Marks worked as a deliveryman for King’s Quality Foods, delivering items to grocery stores, including Redner’s Warehouse Market in Elkton, Maryland. Mr. Marks was a resident of Pennsylvania. On August 20, 2012, while pulling a hand truck containing products into the store, he tripped on the forks of a pallet jack inside the door threshold and fell, injuring his knee.

Mr. Marks and his wife filed a complaint in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, asserting negligence and loss of consortium claims. Redner’s moved for summary judgment on the basis that the trial court must apply Maryland law. Under Maryland law, the Markses were barred from recovery because Mr. Marks was contributorily negligent in bringing about his injury. The trial court granted Redner’s motion for summary judgment, and the Markses appealed.

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