Monday, May 10, 2021

Judge Leeson of Eastern District Court Confirms No Direct Claim of Liability Against Trucking Company Recognized in Certain Cases

In the case of Carson v. Tucker, No. 5:20-CV-00399 (E.D. Pa. March 30, 2021 Leeson, J.), Judge Joseph F. Leeson, Jr. of the Eastern District Federal Court granted a Defendant trucking company’s Partial Motion for Summary Judgment.

This case arose out of a motor vehicle accident involving two (2) tractor trailers.

In the Motion before the court, the trucking Defendant’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment was being considered in a case where the Plaintiff filed negligence claims including both vicarious liability and direct liability claims. 

The trucking Defendants sought summary judgment only on the direct liability claims.

Judge Leeson noted that, under Pennsylvania law, in addition to vicarious liability for that actions of its employees, a corporation may also be subject to direct liability for a negligent entrustment, instruction, supervision, monitoring and hiring of its employees. 

However, Judge Leeson noted that, under the standard “nearly universally adopted” by federal district courts applying Pennsylvania law, a Plaintiff’s direct liability claim against the Defendant driver’s trucking company employer could not survive where the employer had admitted an agency relationship with the driver and where the Plaintiff did not have a viable claim for punitive damages. 

The court found that the Plaintiff’s claim of direct liability against the trucking company therefore failed as a matter of law under the circumstances presented in this case.

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

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (April 15, 2021).

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