Philadelphia Housing Authority resident sues movers for damaged possessions

By Jon Campisi | Oct 28, 2011

A Philadelphia public housing resident who was briefly evicted from her home earlier this year is suing the moving company that was hired by the city to remove her property from her residence.

Philadelphia attorney David H. Denenberg filed the civil action Oct. 25 at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court on behalf of Joanne Allen-Hamiel.

The defendant named in the lawsuit is Graebel Eastern Movers, Inc. of Moorestown, N.J.

The complaint accuses the defendant of damaging property belonging to the defendant this spring while eviction proceedings against Allen-Hamiel were taking place. They were later reversed.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority had hired the defendant to remove personal items and property belonging to the plaintiff on May 17 from her Parrish Street home.

The suit does not state why the proceedings were initially executed against the plaintiff.

While removing the items from the apartment, the suit claims, the defendants managed to damage the personal property belonging to Allen-Hamiel, the suit claims. It does not specifically state what items were damaged.

“Defendant had a duty while removing the property from plaintiff’s premises not to break, alter or destroy the property while in defendant’s possession,” the lawsuit states. “At the time of removing the property from defendant’s premises, defendant failed to box, wrap and/or package the personal property of plaintiff causing damage to same.”

After removing the items from the apartment, the suit states, movers left the plaintiff’s possessions on the front pavement during a rainstorm.

The lawsuit states that the defendant was “bound by certain duties including the duty to act as reasonable movers under the circumstances.”

The defendant’s actions breached the duty to act reasonably under the circumstances, the suit states.

On May 19, two days after the possessions were ordered removed from the home, the courts ordered the Philadelphia Housing Authority to return the items to the plaintiff.

Allen-Hamiel demands judgment against the defendant in the amount of $26,462, plus $2,500 in attorney’s fees.

An arbitration hearing has been scheduled for June 28, 2012.

The case number is 111003238.

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