Monday, June 24, 2019

Puntive Damages Claims Based in Part on Alleged Cell Phone Use Allowed to Proceed in Monroe County


In the case of Miller v. Repasch, No. 517-Civil-2019 (C.P. Monroe Co. April 17, 2019 Williamson, J.), the court issued an Order only denying the Preliminary Objections filed by a Defendant against claims of recklessness and a claim for punitive damages in a motor vehicle accident case involving cell phone use.   The court noted that the allegations in the Complaint were sufficient to allow those claims to proceed forward.  

Reviewing the allegations in the Complaint reveal that this matter arose out of a head-on collision in which the Defendant allegedly failed to operate his vehicle at a safe and prudent speed, failed to take corrective action to avoid the impact, failed to have his vehicle under proper and adequate control, failed to keep a proper lookout, drove his vehicle in careless disregard for the safety of others, and allowed his attention to diverted or distracted thereby precluding the Defendant from being in his vehicle to a stop in sufficient time to avoid the collision.  

In the Plaintiff’s Complaint, it was alternatively pled that the Defendant reported that he crossed the center line as a result of having “blacked out,” or that, if the cause of the Defendant crossing the center line was due to knowingly operating an electronic device or other communication or listening device while operating a vehicle then such actions were done in conscious disregard of the risk that such distracted driving posed to the traveling public, including the Plaintiff.  

A copy of the Complaint is attached to the Order which can be viewed by way of the below link. 

Anyone wishing to review the Court’s Order issued in this matter (as well as a copy of the Complaint) may click this LINK. 

I send thanks to Attorney John B. Dunn of Matergia & Dunn in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.  

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