PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia judge has overruled objections from defense counsel for a supermarket management company, who desired a premises liability action against to be dismissed and re-filed in New Jersey.
Thomas J. Bradley filed a motion for preliminary objections on June 2, for reasons of improper venue and improper defendant identification. Bradley said the lawsuit brought by plaintiff Jennifer Cooke should be dismissed with prejudice, allowing her to re-file the case in Camden County, N.J. court prior to Sept. 21.
Bradley argued this should take place because the subject accident took place there and Cooke resides in that county. Further, Bradley said the originally-named defendant, Wakefern Food Corporation, is a retailer-owned cooperative of individually-owned supermarkets and was therefore an improper defendant.
Bradley stated the proper defendant was Zallie Supermarkets, Inc., who exclusively controlled, maintained and possessed the premises at issue, and did not do so for any supermarkets in Philadelphia. On this basis, Bradley said the issue lacks subject matter jurisdiction and “defies all of the private and public interests” needed to maintain that jurisdiction.
“This court can’t adjudicate a personal injury matter which occurred in New Jersey with a New Jersey resident who allegedly fell in a New Jersey corporation’s store,” Bradley said.
In contrast, Judge Arnold L. New ultimately decided to keep the case in play and overruled these objections from defense counsel. This led Bradley to return with a motion to dismiss the case outright on Aug 23; a motion which remains pending.
On Sept. 21, 2014, Cooke was shopping at the Shop-Rite of Laurel Hill supermarket in Clementon, N.J., when she says she encountered a “wet, slippery substance” on the floor and fell as a result.
Cooke allegedly suffered lumbar disc bulges and protrusion, lumbar radiculopathy per EMG, cervical disc bulges, cervical and lumbar strain and sprain and bilateral shoulder injuries.
The plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of arbitration limits, plus interest, costs and attorney’s fees.
The plaintiff is represented by Justin M. Bieber of J. Bieber Law, in Philadelphia.
The defendant is represented by Bradley and Steven Joshua Silver of McBreen & Kopko, also in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 160501263
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at email@example.com