Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Allegations of Recklessness and Implicit Punitive Damages Claim Allowed to Proceed In Federal Trucking Accident Case

In the case of Shank v. Hanover Intermodal Transport Inc., No. 1:23-CV-01080 (M.D. Pa. Aug. 22, 2023 Kane, J.), the court denied a Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s punitive damages claims pled in a motor vehicle accident.

The court found that the Plaintiff’s allegations plausibly supported a punitive damages remedy at this early stage of the litigation.

According to Opinion, the Plaintiff alleged that he slowed down for a truck that was turning into a driveway in front of him at which point another truck driver rear-ended the Plaintiff’s vehicle.

The Plaintiff asserted negligence claims against the truck driver and the truck company and alleged outrageous conduct in terms of the Defendants’ allegedly willfully and recklessly ignoring the safety hazards of driving a commercial vehicle in an unsafe manner and driving a vehicle in a substandard condition for interstate travel.

The Plaintiff additionality alleged that the truck company failed to properly trail its driver, failed to properly equip or maintain trucks, failed to monitor its driver performance, and was negligent in terms of hiring and retaining drivers, and/or in otherwise allegedly violating commercial motor vehicle regulations.

The Plaintiff additionally averred that the Defendant driver “consciously” drove the truck at a high rate of speed under the circumstances and also violated Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

The court denied the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiff’s implicit demand for punitive damages and the allegations of recklessness, gross negligence, and/or willful misconduct as be a premature request at this pleading stage of the litigation.

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

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Sept. 21, 2023).

Source of image:  Photo by Esteban Zapata on

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