BJ's Wholesale Club moves to transfer slip-and-fall suit out of Phila. Common Pleas Court

By Jon Campisi | May 15, 2013

Lawyers representing BJ’s Wholesale Club have moved to transfer a personal injury

claim initiated in state court against their client last month out of Philadelphia and into the federal court system.

The civil action was initially filed April 10 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by attorney Robin A. Feeney, of the Philadelphia firm Fine & Staud, on behalf of her client, South Philadelphia resident Karimah Watson.

Watson is suing on behalf of her daughter, Karim Watson, who allegedly became injured after slipping on a puddle of water beneath a water fountain at the defendant’s South Philadelphia store on June 4, 2011.

The fall allegedly caused the child to sustain a slipped right capital femoral epiphysis requiring surgical repair.

The plaintiff also claims her daughter will continue to need medical attention and care in the future because of the incident.

The lawsuit, which accuses the defendant of various acts of negligence and carelessness, seeks $50,000 in damages for the plaintiffs, which is the jurisdictional limit in Philadelphia County.

In a May 13 removal notice filed with the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, however, BJ’s lawyer, John M. Wutz, of Philadelphia’s Chartwell Law Offices, wrote that after speaking with the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Feeney, by phone, it was determined that the damages could exceed $75,000, which would trigger federal court jurisdiction.

Wutz also wrote that removal to the federal venue is proper because diversity of citizenship exists between the parties.

Among the acts of negligence accused by the plaintiffs against BJ’s is failing to keep the store’s floor free from liquid, failing to give warnings of a dangerous condition, failing to properly train its employees, and failing to install flooring that would prevent “puddling” or accumulations of water or installing a non-slip floor mat underneath the water fountain.

The state case ID number is 130401501 and the federal case number is 2:13-cv-02605-JCJ.

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