Monday, August 1, 2016

Punitive Damages Claims Allowed to Proceed in Northampton County Cell Phone Case


A cell phone punitive damages decision from back in December of 2015 has been brought to my attention in the form of Paszkowki v. Kleintop, No. C-48-CV-2014-11600 (C.P. Northampton Co. Dec. 11, 2015 Roscioli, J.).

In Paszkowski, the Plaintiff included a claim for punitive damages in the Complaint based upon allegations that the Defendant driver was traveling at a high rate of speed in heavy traffic while distracted by cell phone use for an extended period of time whereby the Defendant failed to notice stopped vehicles at a red light in clear view of the Defendant at the time of the collision.  The Plaintiff further alleged that the Defendant engaged in such conduct while aware of the dangers of doing so.

After reviewing the general rules pertaining to valid punitive damages claims, after acknowledging that other courts have dismissed punitive damages allegations in cases where a Plaintiff has more simply alleged that a defendant driver was using a cell phone at the time of the accident, particularly for a telephone conversation, the court here nevertheless found that the Plaintiff had pled sufficient additional facts to allow the punitive damages claim to proceed forward.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK

I send thanks to Attorney Ralph Bellafatto of the Bellafatto Law Office in Easton, PA for bringing this decision to my attention.

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