Nicholas Malfitano Sep. 24, 2015, 10:57am


PHILADELPHIA – Preliminary objections raised by CVS Pharmacy in a slip-and-fall lawsuit have been overruled by a Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas judge.

Per a decision Monday from Judge Arnold L. New, the preliminary objections raised by defendant CVS Pharmacy on June 3 – improper venue, improper verification and insufficiency of claims on the part of plaintiff Denise Webb – were quashed. The defendants now have 20 days to respond to the complaint.

CVS attorney Walter A. McClatchy Jr. felt the complaint was not verified properly, supposedly only having been signed by Webb’s attorney and not Webb.

Second, McClatchy believed the complaint failed to comply with court regulations by containing “general averments with no specificity or differentiation of defendants." McClatchy’s final objection was the case’s venue; with the alleged accident having taken place in Bucks County. 

McClatchy asserted that was the only proper forum for the case to be heard and requested it be transferred there. Webb’s counsel, Danielle L. Duffy, refuted McClatchy’s objections.

Duffy asserted the complaint was properly verified and signed by both Webb and herself, and the suit itself was based on premise liability, therefore meeting all mandated requirements for sufficient specificity.

Further, Duffy added in using the Store Locator function on the CVS Pharmacy website, it was determined that the brand owns and operates at least 45 stores in Philadelphia, thereby making her choice of Philadelphia County as a forum appropriate.

“Where forum is proper, a court cannot decide to transfer venue based on convenience grounds,” Duffy said in a June 23 answer to McClatchy’s preliminary objections.

New found favor with Duffy’s arguments in overruling the objections.

Webb’s lawsuit, filed in April, alleged on Aug. 3, 2013, she was walking outside from her vehicle to the store entrance on the premises, when she fell on an elevated portion of curb – in proximity to an area outside the store where a handicap-accessible ramp was being constructed. Webb alleged the defendants’ collective failure to ensure the premises were safe caused the accident.

Webb’s lawsuit targets CVS Store #5447 in Newtown, CVS Pharmacy, Inc. in Woonsocket, R.I., Regional Construction Services in Mooresville, Ind., plus Associated Paving Contractors, Apcon Environmental Services and Associated Paving of Warminster.

As a result of her fall, Webb suffered a head contusion, multi-level cervical spondylosis, C6-C7 broad-based posterior disc protrusion causing mild central canal stenosis and persistent headaches, the complaint says.

The plaintiff is seeking a sum, jointly and severally, in excess of $50,000, plus interest, costs, attorney’s fees and other relief.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 150401536

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

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