Sunday, December 18, 2011

Recklessness Allegations Dismissed in Federal Court Premises Liability Case

In the recent United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania decision of Smith v. Marshalls, No. 11-5121 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 21, 2011 Bartle, J.), the court granted a store Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss claims of recklessness and punitive damages in a case in which a Plaintiff was allegedly injured by the store’s employee who pushed a cart into another cart which struck the Plaintiff and caused her to fall.

Accepting all of the facts pled in the Complaint as true as required by the standard of review, the court found that the facts alleged were insufficient to show recklessness on the part of the Defendant’s employee or any conduct warranting punitive damages.

In this case, the Plaintiff had alleged that the department store Defendant failed to have warning systems on carts used by employees, failed to provide an adequate space to accommodate employees, carts, and customers in the aisles of the store, and failed to post warnings to advise customers to look out for carts despite the fact that the store allegedly had knowledge that other customers had previously been injured by carts.

Finding these allegations insufficient to support claims of reckless conduct and/or punitive damages, the court granted the store Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss such claims.

For other decisions on this issue, check out this Tort Talk post.


Anyone desiring a copy of this Opinion in the case of Smith v. Marshalls may contact me at dancummins@comcast.net.

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