Nicholas Malfitano Oct. 1, 2015, 10:22am


PHILADELPHIA – A plaintiff who claims she fell on a Philadelphia sidewalk in 2012 is seeking to recover $3,000 she asserts the City agreed to pay her in a settlement reached in June.

On Aug. 5, plaintiff counsel Craig A. Bernstein filed a motion to enforce settlement on behalf of his client, Philadelphia resident Leola Palmer. Bernstein explained a slip-and-fall case on a city sidewalk involving Palmer had been settled on June 10 for $4,000.

Defendant Anh Dao Cuong of Wilmington, Del., agreed to pay $1,000, and the City of Philadelphia supposedly agreed to pay the remaining difference of $3,000.

Bernstein said the defendants did not prepare settlement releases by July 7, so he made telephone calls and sent faxes to defense counsel requesting the releases by July 10.

When they did not arrive by that date, Bernstein explained he drafted the releases himself and sent them to defense counsel. However, he said the only release returned was the one for Cuong, which contained his agreed-upon portion of the settlement amount, $1,000.

Despite the deadline of 20 days since the releases were sent long since having passed, Bernstein claimed the City still has not paid the $3,000 it agreed to. With the applicable interest rate in a case of this nature being 1 percent, Bernstein wants the City of Philadelphia to pay the $3,000, plus 1 percent interest from Aug. 6 to the date of delivery of the funds, in addition to $57.68 in filing fees and $500.00 in “reasonable” counsel fees.

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

On Aug. 31, 2012, Palmer was traveling the sidewalk on the 1600 block on South 18th Street in Philadelphia, but tripped and fell due to the sidewalk being uneven, the complaint alleges.

According to Palmer, both Dao Cuong and the City of Philadelphia had a responsibility to pedestrians to ensure the sidewalk was safe to use and labeled them negligent for allegedly failing to do so. 

Specifically, Palmer averred the City was liable under Section 8542 of Pennsylvania State Law and “the exceptions to governmental immunity enumerated therein.”

Palmer suffered injuries to her right foot, right ankle, both knees (though the left more than the right), neck and back, in addition to various other injuries which required physical therapy, anxiety and post-traumatic syndrome. Palmer also said she suffered a loss of bodily function and incurred medical costs in excess of $1,500. 

The plaintiff is seeking a sum not in excess of $50,000, plus interest, costs, attorney’s fees and delay damages, separately from each defendant in this case.

The plaintiff is represented by Steven A. Lipschutz and Craig A. Bernstein of Lipschutz & Friedman, in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Brian J. Smith of Brian J. Smith & Associates in Willow Grove, plus Amanda Justine Dougherty in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 140702697

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

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