Thursday, May 5, 2022

Allegations of Recklessness Allowed to Proceed in Lackawanna County Case

In the case of Koloras v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., No. 21-CV-2700 (C.P. Lacka. Co. April 19, 2022 Nealon, J.), Judge Terrence R. Nealon of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas continued the trend in Lackawanna County of allowing personal injury cases to proceed with allegations of recklessness regardless of the facts alleged.

In his Opinion, Judge Nealon notes that facts are not required to support claims of recklessness and/or punitive damages in any Complaint because those claims do not amount to causes of action and, are instead, claims that are derivative of other causes of action.

The court noted that the fact pleading requirements set forth under Rule 1019(a) only apply to the allegation of “a cause of action or defense.” In this Koloras case, the court ruled that under Pa. R.C.P. 1019(b), allegations of recklessness should be considered an allegation of a state of mind of a party to the action which, according to this court, may be pled generally under Pa. R.C.P. 1019(b).  In so ruling, the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas relied, in part, the case of Archibald v. Kemble, 971 A.2d 513, 517 (Pa. Super. 2009), appeal denied, 989 A.2d 914 (Pa. 2010).

While the court does refer to other trial court decisions that have sustained Preliminary Objections to punitive damages claims by finding that a Complaint lacked sufficient factual averments supporting claims of willful, wanton, or reckless conduct as set forth, this court declined to follow those cases.

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

I send thanks to Attorney Michael J. Sowinski, II, Esquire of the Wilkes-Barre, PA law office of Rosenn, Jenkins & Greenwald, LLP for bringing this case to my attention.

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