Nicholas Malfitano Sep. 7, 2016, 9:08am


PHILADELPHIA – Defense counsel representing a pair of drivers and their place of employment in a motor vehicle accident case has successfully petitioned to strike punitive damages through preliminary objections, but lost out in court on other objections related to improper venue and insufficient pleading of charges.

Attorney In-Sook Kim filed a motion encompassing several preliminary objections on June 20, for reasons of improper venue, insufficient pleading of recklessness and wishing to strike a request for punitive damages.

Kim said the subject motor vehicle accident which is at issue in the case took place in Trenton, N.J. and the defendants reside in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, therefore the case should not be heard in a Philadelphia court. Further, Kim argued the allegations of recklessness pled by plaintiff Matthew Shepard were insufficient, without a specified count of “outrageous conduct” on the part of the defendants, and therefore, would not lead to a possible finding of punitive damages.

On Aug. 31, Judge John M. Younge ruled Kim’s objections as to the subject of punitive damages were granted and those damages were stricken from the case, but overruling the ones relating to improper venue and insufficient pleading of recklessness.

On Jan. 15, 2014, Sheppard was driving eastbound at a “normal and legal” speed on Kuser Road in Hamilton Township, N.J., in a 2007 Mazda III he owned. At that time, defendant Man K. Moon is said to have driven past a stop sign and crossed into the plaintiff’s lane of travel, causing a head-on collision that totaled Sheppard’s vehicle. The plaintiff averred Man K. Moon’s vehicle was owned by fellow defendants Yoo R. Moon and Ah’s Garage Sale.

According to Sheppard, the Hamilton Township police found Moon 100 percent at fault for causing the accident at the scene – and added Moon pled guilty to a charge of careless driving in Hamilton Township Municipal Court on Sept. 13, 2014.

Sheppard claimed to have suffered a litany of injuries in the crash, including unconsciousness, a concussion, an articular process fracture in his C7 vertebra, a complex right ear laceration and avulsion, a brain injury, plus spinal damage.

Sheppard says he needed emergency reconstructive plastic surgery to repair the wounds to his ear and scalp, and was ordered to remain in a cervical collar for six weeks – while being disallowed from lifting anything heavier than five pounds, due to the spinal damage Sheppard said he sustained in the accident.

The plaintiff is seeking damages, jointly and severally, in excess of $50,000, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs delay damages and other relief in this case from the defendants, based on charges of negligence.

The plaintiff is represented by Keith Thomas West of Jonathan Cohen, LLC, in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Kim of Robert J. Casey & Associates, also in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 160402533

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

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