Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Judge Hughes of Luzerne County Strikes Claims of Recklessness at Preliminary Objections Stage

In the companion cases of McLane v. Almquist, No. 7057-CV-2021 (C.P. Luz. Co. Jan. 24, 2022 Hughes, III, J.), and Kastreva v. Almquist, No. 7056-CV-2021 (C.P. Luz. Co. Jan. 24, 2022 Hughes, III, J.), Judge Richard M. Hughes, III of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas sustained Preliminary Objections seeking to strike all references to recklessness and reckless conduct, along with a claim for punitive damages, in a motor vehicle accident case.

The court found that these types of allegations lacked conformity to the Rules of Civil Procedure and/or Pennsylvania law and/or were legally insufficient, in part, under Pa. R.C.P. 1019.

As such, the court ruled that all allegations of “recklessness” and the Plaintiff’s request for punitive damages directed against the corporate Defendant were stricken from the Plaintiff without prejudice for leave to amend at a later date should discovery warrant the same.

It is emphasized that the court issued its decision by way of Orders only and without any Opinion. Those Orders can be viewed HERE and HERE.

In so ruling, Judge Hughes followed the rulings of a majority of trial courts from around the Commonwealth as well as several appellate court decisions.  For an overview of the law regarding the proper pleading of recklessness, please click this LINK to access my article on this issue that was published in the January, 2022 edition of the Pennsylvania Bar Quarterly.    

I send thanks to Attorney Lisa Goodison Faden of the Philadelphia office of Ryan, Brown, Berger & Gibbons, P.C. for bringing these recent Luzerne County decisions by Judge Hughes to my attention.

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