Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Preliminary Objections Denied Where Real Estate Exception to Sovereign Immunity Found to Possibly Apply

In the case of Alward v. Lacka. Co. Housing Authority, No. 2017 CV 3880 (C.P. Lacka. Co. April 12, 2018 Nealon, J.), Judge Terrence R. Nealon of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas denied the defendant's Preliminary Objections based, in part, on an allegation of sovereign immunity.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff alleged personal injuries as a result of health complications caused by sewage, mold, and fumes that allegedly developed from the faulty sewage, ventilation, and plumbing systems in the apartment she leased from the authority.

The court found that, since the sewage, ventilation and plumbing systems were affixed to the rental unit utilized by the Plaintiff, the allegedly dangerous conditions arguably arose from the housing authority's real estate so as to possibly fall within the real estate exception to tort immunity under the Sovereign Immunity Act.

As such, the Defendant's preliminary objections were denied.

In this opinion the court also reviewed the gist of the action doctrine, which precludes a plaintiff from recasting a contract action as a negligence action.  This defense was also rejected by the court at this preliminary objections stage.

Anyone wishing to review this decision may click this LINK.

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