Injured pedestrian sues Ritz-Carlton, City of Phila. for allowing delivery trucks to illegally park on sidewalk

By Jon Campisi | Apr 15, 2012

A pedestrian who claims she suffered leg injuries after tripping over cracked and broken sidewalk adjacent to a popular downtown Philadelphia hotel, damage she contends is caused by delivery trucks illegally, and with the city’s unofficial permission, parking on the walkway to load and unload products at the hotel, has filed a federal complaint against the City of Philadelphia and the Ritz-Carlton Company.

Philadelphia resident Cynthia Davis alleges in her lawsuit, which was filed April 10 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania by attorney Geoffrey V. Seay, that the hip and knee injuries she allegedly sustained in early July 2011 were caused by the negligence of the hotel, which allows delivery trucks to park on the sidewalk directly outside the building.

Davis also blames the city for unofficially sanctioning the dangerous process, which puts the structural integrity of the sidewalk in jeopardy, and in turn, compromises pedestrian safety.

The lawsuit claims that Davis has been seeking ongoing medical treatment related to her injuries ever since the alleged incident occurred outside the Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia, which is located at 10 Avenue of the Arts in Center City.

The complaint alleges that the hotel does not have a permit or license from the city to “willfully and maliciously block and otherwise obstruct the highly traveled public pedestrian right-of-way with delivery trucks, hotel supplies and other materials.”

The suit claims that during the course of using the public access way as an “illegal makeshift and unpermitted loading dock,” the defendants have caused the sidewalk and granite curbing outside of the hotel to crack, putting pedestrians in danger.

Some of the breaks in the concrete are two inches deep and four feet long, the suit claims.

The complaint states that Davis has incurred doctors’ bills due to her injuries and that she has suffered a loss of earnings, a loss of life’s pleasures and an inability to carry out her usual duties and activities.

The suit further contends that following the alleged incident, Davis contacted city officials about the defective sidewalk condition outside of the hotel, but to date nothing has been done to fix the problem.

“Defendant City of Philadelphia acted recklessly and with conscious disregard [and] with deliberate indifference in denying Ms. Davis’s claim against it,” the lawsuit states.

The city, the suit states, is responsible for ensuring that businesses such as the Ritz-Carlton comply with all building and zoning regulations to ensure the “health and safety” of city residents and visitors.

The lawsuit contains federal civil rights claims. It accuses the city of failing to properly train and supervise its employees, and it contains a premises liability count against the Ritz-Carlton.

The suit also contains three bad faith claims against the various defendants and a count of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Davis seeks compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $150,000, plus other court relief.

Davis demands a jury trial.


The federal case number is 2:12-cv-01827-GP. 

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