Mother of 21-year-old killed by garbage truck sues Waste Management for wrongful death

By Jon Campisi | May 25, 2012

The mother of a young man who was struck and killed by a garbage truck in Bucks County earlier this year has filed a wrongful death claim against the driver of the vehicle and his employer.

Philadelphia attorneys Shanin Specter and Jason L. Pearlman, of the firm Kline & Specter, filed the civil action May 15 at Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Jean Gilbert.

Gilbert, who currently resides in Washington, D.C., is suing on behalf of her deceased son, Eli Gilbert, who died just five days after his 21st birthday after Erik Johnson struck the younger Gilbert with his Waste Management trash truck.

Johnson, of Philadelphia, is named as a defendant in the wrongful death complaint, as is Bristol, Pa.-based Waste Management of Pennsylvania Inc. and Houston-based Waste Management Inc.

According to the complaint, Eli Gilbert was walking through the parking lot of the Wawa convenience store at 3230 Bath Road in Bristol at a little after 6:30 the morning of Jan. 7 when Johnson, who was operating his garbage truck, struck Gilbert with the front of the vehicle.

Gilbert ended up suffering “catastrophic” injuries that eventually led to his death, the suit states.

The lawsuit claims Johnson’s operation of his garbage truck was negligent in that he failed to yield to Gilbert, failed to stop his vehicle prior to striking the victim, failed to maintain proper control of  his vehicle, failed to come to an immediate stop after striking Gilbert, operated a vehicle in a careless and unsafe manner and operated a motor vehicle without due regard to the rights, safety and position of Gilbert.

The suit states that Jean Gilbert, as the administratrix of her son’s estate, is entitled to recover damages under Pennsylvania’s Wrongful Death Act.

Jean Gilbert claims all expenses related to medical, funeral and burial expenses, and expenses of administration necessitated by reason of injuries causing plaintiff’s decedent’s death.

Gilbert also claims damages for the loss of companionship, comfort, society guidance, solace and protection of her son, the lawsuit states.

She also seeks damages for emotional and psychological loss.

The lawsuit also contains a Survival Action count.

Gilbert seeks judgment against the defendants in a sum in excess of the arbitrational limits, or $50,000 in state court, plus interest, delay damages and court costs.

A jury trial has been demanded.


The case ID number is 120501322. 

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