Monday, October 14, 2013

Federal Middle District Judge Mannion Allows Punitive Damages Claim to Proceed in Trucking Accident Case

Federal Middle District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion recently allowed a punitive damages claim to survive a Fed.R.C.P. 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss in a trucking accident litigation with allegations of sleep deprivation in the case of Coello v. Frac Tech Services, LLC, No. 3:13-534 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 10, 2013 Mannion, J.).

According to the Plaintiff's Complaint, after working extended hours and getting minimal sleep, the Defendant truck driver allegedly fell asleep at the wheel on the rural country road of SR 267 in northern central Pennsylvania, crossed the center line and struck the Plaintiff's decedent's oncoming vehicle in a head-on fashion.

Judge Malachy E. Mannion
After setting forth the Fed.R.C.P. 12(b)(6) standard of review and providing a detailed analysis of the current prerequisites for a valid claim for punitive damages under Pennsylvania law, the Court denied the Defendant's motion to dismiss the punitive damages claim. 

Judge Mannion noted that there were sufficient facts pled in the Plaintiff's Complaint to support the punitive damages claim, including allegations regarding the Defendants' alleged knowledge of the dangers of driving with sleep deprivation allegedly caused by an intense work schedule.

Anyone wishing to review the Coello decision by Judge Mannion, may click this LINK.

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