Sunday, February 27, 2011

Judge Carmen Minora of Lackawanna County Addresses Amendment of Pleadings and Summary Judgment Based Upon General Release

Judge Carmen D. Minora of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas recently issued an opinion in the case of Zummo v. City of Scranton, No. 2005- CV - 1369 (Lacka. Co., Feb. 10, 2011, Minora, J.) in which he granted (1) the Defendant's Motion to Amend its Answer and New Matter to include the defense of release and (2) the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment based upon the same General Release that was previously entered into by the parties on the same issues presented in this case.

The underlying facts of this case involved alleged damages to the Plaintiffs' property as result of storm water runoff allegedly caused by a storm water drainage system owned by the City of Scranton.

The Defendant's Motion to Amend the New Matter five years after the action was commenced was granted under the liberal Rules of Civil Procedure pertaining to the amendment of pleadings. The court rejected the Plaintiffs' allegations that they would be "prejudiced" by the allowance of the amendment at this stage of the litigation.

The Motion for Summary Judgment was granted after the court rejected the Plaintiffs' contention that the the prior Release entered into by the parties after a previous litigation on similar issues did not cover future damages. The Plaintiffs also attempted to argue that current case was a claim for a different recovery for a nuisance of a progressive nature allegedly caused by the City's alleged failure to abate the storm water runoff as promised in the previous Release.

Rather, Judge Minora found that the terms of the General Release were "clear and unambiguous" in that the Plaintiffs had agreed to "forever discharge" the City of Scranton "of and from any and all claims" the Plaintiffs "will have or ever had" regarding the storm drainage system.

Anyone desiring a copy of this Zummo v. City of Scranton decision by Judge Minora may contact me at

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