Nicholas Malfitano Jun. 24, 2016, 1:15pm


PHILADELPHIA – A trio of preliminary objection motions are before the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas relating to a multi-vehicle collision which resulted in a number of serious injuries to the plaintiffs, a family of four from Kennebunk, Maine.

Steven H. Eichler filed a motion for preliminary objections on March 4, seeking a transfer of Justin and Katharine Sweeney’s lawsuit to either the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas or its counterpart in Berks County. Eichler said the case had no connection to Philadelphia County, either to the cause of action or any party involved.

Timothy J. Schipske filed his own motion for preliminary objections on March 21, putting forth similar objections and rationale for a change of venue, as did Vincent M. Carita on March 22. Carita added Frontier Communications Corp. (the owner of defendant Commonwealth Telephone Company) conducts no business in Philadelphia County and is not based here.

Carita said the company’s process server was located in Harrisburg, but the only appropriate venue was the Berks County Court of Common Pleas.

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

On Dec. 26, 2013, the Sweeneys (along with their minor children, Molly and Carter) were traveling in a 2007 Toyota Prius on Interstate 78 near Mile Marker 38.1 in Greenwich Township, located in Berks County. Katharine Sweeney was driving the vehicle, with Justin, Molly and Carter as passengers.

At that time, the Sweeney vehicle was rear-ended by a white 2006 Freightliner tractor-trailer operated by Hugo Umanzor and owned by RBC Leading Logistics, as part of a multi-vehicle chain reaction collision allegedly initiated by defendant Guillermo A. Salamanca – who himself was operating a 2013 Freightliner truck – and defendant Clark W. Zimmerman, who was driving a white 2012 Chevrolet van owned by Commonwealth Telephone Company.

As a result of the accident, Justin allegedly suffered a fractured sternum, collapsed lung, contusions, difficulty breathing, in-patient hospitalization, fear and anxiety.

Katharine suffered an elbow injury, chest pain, lacerations, fear and anxiety.

Molly suffered a crushed pelvis, in-patient hospitalization, separation anxiety, pelvic asymmetry, fear and anxiety, while Carter suffered that same fear and anxiety.

The plaintiffs filed a 10-count complaint against the defendants, listing charges of negligence against Umanzor, RBC Leading Logistics, Salamanca, Zimmerman, Commonwealth Telephone Company; respondeat superior theory of liability against RBC Leading Logistics and Commonwealth Telephone Company; negligent infliction of emotional distress versus all defendants; loss of consortium from Justin versus all defendants and loss of consortium from Katharine versus all defendants.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus costs, attorney’s fees and interest in this case.

The plaintiffs are represented by John Angeloni in Berwyn.

The defendants are represented by Carita of the Law Offices of J. Mark Pecci II, Schipske of Salmon Ricchezza Singer Turchi, Eichler of Margolis Edelstein and Nancy Resnick, all in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 151202206

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

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