Nicholas Malfitano Aug. 27, 2015, 9:30am


PHILADELPHIA – Counsel for a tractor-trailer driver and his employer accused of negligence in a crash resulting in a paralyzed plaintiff believe a lawsuit targeting them should be moved for reasons of improper venue and failing to state a claim.

On June 9, Gregory C. Kunkle filed preliminary objections on behalf of his clients, Charles B. Hershey of New Providence and Hershey’s employer Steel Fab Enterprises of Lancaster, alleging the suit initiated by Allison M. Reilly of Willow Street in May was not filed in a proper venue. As the motor vehicle accident the case is centered on took place in Lancaster County, Kunkle’s petition asked for the matter to be transferred there.

Kunkle also felt all mentions of punitive damages should be stricken from the complaint, due to the suit not specifically stating or providing evidence why such damages are necessary in this case. 

A hearing in this matter was set for Wednesday at Philadelphia City Hall, in Court chambers.

On Sept. 24, Reilly was driving a 2007 Ford Focus owned by her mother, Mary Elizabeth Reilly, and proceeding south on Route 741 in East Hempfield Township, located in Lancaster County, near its intersection with Route 30. According to the suit, Reilly had a green traffic signal at this point.

At the same time, Hershey was driving a 2001 Navistar International tractor-trailer owned by his employer, Steel Fab Enterprises of Lancaster, and proceeding north on Route 741. Hershey then stopped in the left lane, awaiting a green traffic signal in order to make the left turn onto the onramp for Route 30 West.

However, according to the lawsuit, Hershey turned left when the traffic signal was still red, as opposed to green. Having had a green light, Reilly had proceeded into the intersection just before Hershey entered it with the tractor-trailer. Though Reilly applied her brakes, her vehicle collided with Hershey’s tractor-trailer, the suit says.

Reilly was paralyzed in the crash with Hershey’s tractor-trailer.

East Hempfield Township Police who responded to the accident scene charged Hershey with violating Title 75, Section 3112 (a) (3) (1) of Pennsylvania state law. The selected statute reads: “Vehicular traffic facing a steady red signal alone shall stop at a clearly marked stop line, or if none, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection, or if none, then before entering the intersection and shall remain standing until an indication to proceed is shown.”

Reilly's lawsuit claimed Hershey had a “history of violations” on public record, including making improper left turns and operating unsafe equipment. The suit maintains Hershey’s employer should have been aware of these violations, and carries charges of negligence by way of reckless conduct, negligence due to vicarious liability and negligent entrustment against both defendants.

The plaintiff is seeking judgment from each defendant in excess of $50,000, plus compensatory and punitive damages for reckless and outrageous conduct, plus interest and court costs.

The plaintiff is represented by Jaime D. Jackson of Atlee Hall, in Lancaster. 

The defendants are represented by Kunkle of Thomas, Thomas & Hafer, in Allentown.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 150500405

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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