Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Plaintiff Gets Railed Off From Recovery

In the case of Jakmian v. City of Philadelphia, Case ID: 201001469 (C.P. Phila. Co. Aug. 4, 2023 Schulman, J.), the court issued a Rule 1925 Opinion on a Plaintiff’s appeal from an Order of Nonsuit entered in favor of the Defendants, SEPTA and the City of Philadelphia in a case involving an incident that allegedly occurred when the front tire of the Plaintiff’s bicycle became stuck in a SEPTA trolley track located in Philadelphia, causing the Plaintiff to be thrown from her bicycle and suffer, among other injuries, a broken arm.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff testified that she was riding her bicycle on a route that she often traveled between her home and a local gym. The Plaintiff testified that there were trolley tracks that ran down the middle of the street. The Plaintiff was riding in the middle of tracks, such that there was one track to her right and one to her left.

The Plaintiff moved to her right to clear the roadway for a car that was allegedly tailgating her. As she did so, one of the tires of her bike allegedly got struck in the trolley track and caused the Plaintiff to be thrown from her bike and smashed into a parked vehicle.

The court noted that the Plaintiff took pictures of an opening between the rails where the tire of her bicycle allegedly got stuck. The court noted that the Plaintiff did not identify any defect in the rails themselves.

According to the Opinion, at the time of the accident, trolley service had not been in use in the area for at least thirty (30) years and that SEPTA had no plans to change back to utilizing trolley service in that area.

The court reviewed various cases involving the real estate exception to the Sovereign Immunity Act that related to trolley rail.

The court found that the Plaintiff did not produce any evidence to support a claim that the inactivity in and of itself rendered the trolley track to become a dangerous condition.

The trial court held that no relief was due to the Plaintiff where the Plaintiff had failed to offer any evidence to support a claim that inactive trolley tracks were a dangerous condition of real estate for bicyclists.

The court rejected the Plaintiff’s argument that the fact that SEPTA had paved over some tracks in other parts of the city supported her claims of negligence against SEPTA for failing to pave over the trolley tracks where the Plaintiff’s accident occurred. The court found that the Plaintiff failed offer any evidence, by expert witness or otherwise, to show why the existence of trolley tracks presented as a dangerous condition.

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

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Oct. 23, 2023).

Source of Image: Photo by Louis Droege on  

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