Nicholas Malfitano Oct. 9, 2015, 10:03am


PHILADELPHIA – Defense counsel for a man injured in a fall on a city sidewalk has petitioned the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas to withdraw his representation.

In his motion, Eamon Merrigan of Goldberg Miller & Rubin tied the reasons for his withdrawal to clerical error and financial conflicts. Merrigan said plaintiff's counsel provided discovery responses indicating an error had been made in the filing of plaintiff Chris Rodriguez’s negligence lawsuit.

The lawsuit charged Rodriguez had fallen on a sidewalk at 212 East Rockland Street in Philadelphia, when, in fact, the fall took place at 4701 Edmund Street. State Farm Insurance Company held a policy for defendant Elbin Gonzalez for the East Rockland Street property, not the Edmund Street location.

Thus, State Farm notified Gonzalez that his policy would not cover the damages alleged in Rodriguez’s lawsuit, and would not defend or indemnify him in the case, or pay his legal costs. However, State Farm did say they would provide Gonzalez with 30 days to retain alternate counsel.

As of Aug. 31, Merrigan called Gonzalez to discuss the situation, but Gonzalez had not yet retained new counsel. Merrigan explained in his motion due to State Farm’s refusal to continue covering Gonzalez’s attorney fees, the lack of payment “results in an unreasonable financial burden for the petitioner and his firm.”

A hearing in the matter was set for Thursday at Philadelphia City Hall, in court chambers.

On June 23, 2012, Rodriguez was walking on the Edmund Street property in Philadelphia when he tripped and fell on a defective sidewalk that had “deteriorating pavement of stone, holes, depressions and irregularities.” 

Rodriguez suffered injuries to his bones, muscles, tendons ligaments, nerves and tissue, some of which aggravated pre-existing conditions.

The plaintiff is seeking a sum not in excess of $50,000, plus interest, attorneys' fees and costs from all defendants in this case.

The plaintiff is represented by Gary P. Heslin of Heslin Law Firm in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by William B. Shuey, also in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 140603070

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

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