Monday, December 26, 2016

Plaintiff's Failure to Meet Six Month Notice Requirement in Action Against Governmental Agency Excused

In an unpublished Commonwealth Court decision written by Judge Joseph M. Cosgrove in the case of Dacey v. Luzerne County, PA, No. 156 C.D. 2016 (Pa. Cmwlth. Dec. 6, 2016 McCullough, Cosgrove, Pellegrini, J.J.), the Commonwealth Court reversed the trial court's sustaining of the defendant's Preliminary Objections in a trip and fall case filed against a governmental agency.

The trial court sustained the defendant's preliminary objections which asserted that the Plaintiff's failed to comply with the six month notice requirement under 42 Pa.C.S.A. Section 5522(a).

The appellate court noted that there was no dispute that the Plaintiff had failed to provide notice of the claim to the governmental agency within six months of the incident.

Judge Joseph  M. Cosgrove
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

However, the appellate court accepted the argument of the Plaintiff, who was a New Jersey resident, that she was unaware of the six month notice requirement and that ignorance of the law could be deemed a reasonable excuse in this context.  The court also found that there was no prejudice sustained by the defendant by the late notice.

As such the trial court's decision was reversed and the matter was remanded for further proceedings.

Anyone wishing to review this unpublished decision by the Commonwealth Court in the Dacey court may contact me at dancummins@comcast.net.


I send thanks to Attorney Jonathan Comitz of the Wilkes-Barre, PA office of Comitz Law Firm LLC for bringing this case to my attention.  Attorney Jeremy Weinstock of that office handled this matter.

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