Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Lancaster County Decision on Cell Phone/Punitive Damages Pleading Issue

Another Opinion has been uncovered in which a court has found that allegations of cell phone usage alone are insufficient, without more, in a motor vehicle accident case to support a claim for punitive damages. This decision was rendered by Judge Joseph C. Madenspacher back on August 27, 2015 in the case of Ebersole v. Baum, No. CI-15-00026 (C.P. Lanc. Co. Aug. 27, 2015, Madenspacher, J.).

In this matter, the Plaintiff asserted in her Complaint that the Defendant was liable for punitive damages for being inattentive due to alleged cell phone use at the time of the subject motor vehicle accident.

In his Opinion, Judge Madenspacher reviewed the law of Pennsylvania on punitive damages and found that the Plaintiff’s factual allegations did not support a claim that the Defendant acted with a bad motive or reckless indifference as required to support the imposition of punitive damages. As such, the court struck the claim for punitive damages from the Complaint.

Anyone desiring a copy of this decision may contact me at dancummins@comcast.net.

I send thanks to Attorney Jason McNicholl of the Lancaster, Pennsylvania law firm of Flanagan and DiBernardo, LLP for forwarding this decision to my attention.

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