Nicholas Malfitano Sep. 15, 2015, 3:57pm


PHILADELPHIA – The defendants in a motor vehicle accident litigation have separately raised preliminary objections related to venue and the dismissal of the complaint in its entirety.

On behalf of defendants Shippensburg-based Booz Milk Transportation and Thomas Wells of Newburg, Gerard F. Lipski filed a motion for preliminary objections on June 16. Lipski asserted the case’s venue should be changed, either to Cumberland County (where his clients are based) or Montgomery County (where the subject accident took place).

Secondly, on behalf of defendant VFS Leasing Company of Greensboro, N.C., Peter R. Kulp filed a separate motion for preliminary objections on June 18.

In this other motion, Kulp stated his client VFS merely owned the Volvo tractor used by Wells’ vehicle for his work with Booz Milk Transportation. Kulp asserted his client “did not employ, train or hire Wells” and any claims of vicarious liability and negligent entrustment against VFS were banned through a subset of the federal Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act, known as the Graves Amendment. 

The Graves Amendment states: “An owner of a motor vehicle that rents or leases the vehicle to a person shall not be liable under the law of any State, or political subdivision thereof, by reason of being the owner of the vehicle, for harm to persons or property that results or arises out of the use, operation, or possession of the vehicle during the period of the rental or lease if:

-The owner is engaged in the trade or business of renting or leasing motor vehicles; and 

-There is no negligence or criminal wrongdoing on the part of the owner."

Further, Kulp sought dismissal of the complaint with prejudice.

A hearing in these matters was set for Wednesday at Philadelphia City Hall, in Court chambers.

Elizabeth and George Hernandez’s March lawsuit is in connection with a motor vehicle accident that had taken place nearly two years earlier. On April 22, 2013, Elizabeth was driving on the Geryville Pike, approaching its intersection with SR-663 in Upper Hanover Township.

Wells was driving his vehicle for business purposes on behalf of Booz Milk Transportation when he allegedly drove negligently, in speeding and running a red light, and collided with Elizabeth’s vehicle.

Elizabeth sued Wells for negligence and VFS Leasing Company and Booz Milk Transportation for negligent entrustment and vicarious liability, with George Hernandez also suing for loss of consortium.

The plaintiffs are each seeking a sum in excess of $50,000 plus costs from all defendants in this case.

The plaintiffs are represented by Nicholas L. Palazzo of Defino Law Associates, in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Peter R. Kulp, of Deasey Mahoney & Valentini and Gerard F. Lipski of Campbell, Lipski & Dochney, both in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 150303682

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

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