Thursday, August 18, 2022

Court Rules That (Under Local Rule) Complaints Referring to Statutes Must Provide the Citation to the Statute

In the case of Comerford v. Burrier, No. 20-CV-1368 (C.P. Lacka. Co. July 22, 2022 Nealon, J.), the court addressed Preliminary Objections asserting a demurrer against claims asserted by a basketball game spectator who filed suit after she was allegedly injured while seated in the bottom row of bleachers when another fan fell onto her, allegedly due to the absence of any designated stairs or handrail for the bleachers. The lawsuit was commenced against the owner of the gymnasium and the fan who fell upon the Plaintiff.

The court denied the Defendant’s demurrer, in part, based upon the spectator’s contention that she was a “business invitee” of the owner of the premises, and in light of the owner’s obligation to protect invitees from dangerous conditions that were either known to the owner or discoverable by the exercise of reasonable care.

However, the court did note that, under previous precedent in Lackawanna County, as well as an application of Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1019, if the Plaintiff was opting to affirmatively assert in a Complaint that a negligence claim was based upon a Defendant’s violation of a statute, ordinance, regulation, or rule, then the Plaintiff must cite to that specific statute, ordinance, regulation, or rule allegedly violated.

As such, while the owner’s demurrer to the negligence claim was overruled, the Preliminary Objections asserted by the Defendant relative to the Plaintiff’s failure to provide citations for allegedly applicable statute, ordinances, regulations, and rules was sustained.

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

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