Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Allegations of Recklessness Allowed to Stand Based Upon Cell Phone Use While Driving

In the case of Henderson v. Palmer, No. 10035 of 2019, C.A. (C.P. Lawrence Co. Oct. 7, 2019 Cox, J.), the court denied a Defendant’s Preliminary Objections to the Plaintiff’s claims of reckless conduct based upon a Defendant driver allegedly using a cell phone and/or texting, and/or using “some other electronic device or for other reasons, in direct violation of applicable law.”

This matter arose out of a motor vehicle accident that occurred when the Plaintiff’s vehicle was rear-ended by the Defendant’s vehicle.

The court in Henderson reviewed decisions from Oklahoma and Delaware involving a Defendant’s use of a cell phone during the course of an accident. After reviewing those cases, the court in Henderson found that allegations asserting that the Defendant was using a cell phone while driving and was otherwise distracted from observing the roadway while operating a vehicle at a high rate of speed were sufficient to permit allegations of recklessness to survive Preliminary Objections.

However, the court granted the Defendant’s Preliminary Objections to the Plaintiff’s negligence per se allegations given that the Plaintiff failed to provide any factual allegations demonstrating any conduct to establish the violation of the statutes alleged.

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

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Nov. 5, 2019).

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