Nicholas Malfitano Sep. 10, 2015, 1:42pm


PHILADELPHIA – Plaintiffs attorneys in a breach of contract action have filed a motion for sanctions, claiming a defendant company failed to abide by the terms of a settlement reached in June.

John J. Jacko III filed the motion for sanctions on July 20, alleging Ameritemps, an employment placement firm, did not live it up to the settlement agreement approved by the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on April 29 and signed by Ameritemps on June 26. 

One stipulation of the settlement was Ameritemps paying $50,000 in counsel fees to plaintiffs Dependable Distribution Services, Inc. and Hanover Insurance Company.

However, Ameritemps did not fulfill this condition because, in its view, there was “no settlement finalized” in the case. Jacko is pursuing contempt sanctions of $100 per day against Ameritemps until it fulfills the terms of the settlement.

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

Pennsauken, N.J.-based Dependable Distribution and Somerset, N.J.-based Hanover Insurance filed their lawsuit in November 2013 against Ameritemps of Camden, N.J., Commerce And Industry Insurance Company of New York City and Nautilus Insurance Group of Scottsdale, Ariz., over a related litigation.

Philadelphia resident John Cozzone previously filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas against Dependable Distribution Services in October 2012, in connection with an accident which took place in September 2011.

Through a placement from Ameritemps, Cozzone had been working as a stevedore on Pier 84 in Philadelphia, offloading cocoa beans from a ship in port on Sept. 8, 2011, when he fell and sustained serious injuries.

Cozzone suffered a displaced right tibia fracture, right fibula fracture and malleolus disruption, which required surgery. Cozzone claimed Dependable Distribution Services was negligent in its instructions for employment as a stevedore.

At the time of Cozzone’s accident Dependable Distribution Services was covered by Hanover Insurance as their professional carrier, and Ameritemps was covered by Nautilus Insurance. 

In this current litigation, Dependable Distribution Services and Hanover Insurance bring action for declaratory judgment. The plaintiffs also sued Commerce And Industry Insurance Company and Nautilus Insurance, claiming they are entitled to coverage from them – with respect to the previous claims asserted against them by Cozzone.

The plaintiffs allege Ameritemps “materially breached” its contractual and legal obligation to indemnify Dependable Distribution Services with respect to Cozzone’s claims, and failed to cause its workers’ compensation carrier to waive the right of subrogation against Dependable Distribution Services. 

The plaintiffs are seeking judgment for breach of contract against Ameritemps, plus attorney’s fees, costs and other relief in this case.

The plaintiffs are represented by John Jacko III of Fellheimer & Eichen, in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Robert J. Cosgrove and Adam J. Gomez, of Wade Clark Mulcahy in Philadelphia, Joel M. Eads, of Trenk DiPasquale in Ardmore, Stephen J. Buividas in Cherry Hill, N.J., Phillip R. Earnest in Pittsburgh and Kevin Raphael in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 131100321

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

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