Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Court Rules That Plaintiff's Complaint Is Detailed Enough

In the case of T.D.A.P. v. Lawrence County Soc. Serv., Inc., No. 10071 of 2020, C.A. (C.P. Lawr. Co. Oct. 7, 2020 Hodge, J.), the court overruled a Defendant’s Preliminary Objections asserted against a premises liability Complaint filed by the Plaintiff.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff’s child was enrolled at an early learning center. The child was at the center and under the care of the Defendant when he was injured in the facility’s gymnasium.

The Plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit and the Defendant responded with Preliminary Objections alleging that the Plaintiff’s were not sufficiently specific. The defense asserted that it could not prepare an adequate defense because the Complaint did not provide enough facts regarding how the minor Plaintiff fell, how the fall led to his alleged injuries, or how the Defendant’s conduct contributed to those injuries.

The Plaintiff responded by asserting that the Complaint did contain enough facts in this regard.

After reviewing the Complaint, the court found that the Complaint alleged that the Defendant, as the operator of a daycare center, had the duty to supervise children under its care and to protect them from harm. The Plaintiff had also alleged that the child was on the premises as a registered student in the Defendant’s program when the incident occurred. It was additionally noted that the Plaintiff had alleged that the Defendants failed to provide adequate supervision to ensure that the child was not injured. The court also found that the causal relationship between the Defendant’s alleged conduct and the child’s injuries was easily implied from the facts presented. It was also noted that the Plaintiff’s Complaint gave details about the child’s injuries and the various treatments provided.

The court rejected the Defendant’s argument that the Complaint should have provided more details about the fall down event, such as, how it occurred, what activity immediately preceded it, and what the Defendant’s staff members were doing at the time.

The court noted that such a level of detail was not required in the Complaint. Rather, the Complaint contained all of the facts necessary to support the elements of a negligence claim and that the parties could use the discovery process to discover additional information.

Based on these rulings, the Defendant’s Preliminary Objections were overruled.

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

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Nov. 24, 2020).

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