Monday, June 14, 2021

Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas Again Rules that Recklessness May Be Pled in Any Case

In the case of Clauss-Walton v. Gulbin, No. 20-CV-4860 (C.P. Lacka. Co. May 21, 2021 Nealon, J.), Judge Terrence R. Nealon of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas issued another decision that continues the uniformity of decisions out of this county ruling that a Plaintiff may assert claims of recklessness in any personal injury litigation whatsoever.

The court again relied upon the case of Archibald v. Kemble, 971 A.2d 513, 517 (Pa. Super. 2009), appeal denied, 989 A.2d 914 (Pa. 2010), under which it was held that allegations of recklessness may be made in any case as a general averment of a state of mind.

In this case, the Plaintiff alleged that an elderly Defendant driver recklessly chose to drive despite the fact that she had a urinary tract infection that had progressed to the point where the Defendant was rendered unconscious during the course of her trip. The Plaintiff alleges that, as a result of passing out while operating her motor vehicle, the Defendant crossed the yellow line and struck the Plaintiff’s vehicle in a head-on fashion.

In her Complaint, the Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant acted in a reckless manner. The Plaintiff also made a claim for punitive damages.

The Defendant filed a demurrer to the Plaintiff’s claims of recklessness and for punitive damages.

As noted above, based upon, in part, the Archibald case, the court denied the demurrer and allowed the claims to go forward. The court did note that, following the completion of discovery, the Defendant could revisit legal sufficiency of the punitive damages claims by way of a Motion for Summary Judgment.

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

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