Amtrak files petition to transfer premises liability action out of Pa. state court

By Jon Campisi | Jul 1, 2013

Attorneys representing Amtrak in a premises liability case arising from injuries a

Philadelphia man allegedly sustained after falling on an escalator in Delaware are moving to transfer the litigation from the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Lawyer Andrew J. Kornblau, of the firm Landman Corsi Ballaine & Ford, filed a Notice of Removal with the federal court on June 27 asking a judge to take jurisdiction over a case initiated in state court on June 12 by Philadelphia resident Louis Holland.

Attorneys Jay L. Solnick and Jessica A. Altman, of the firm Solnick & Levin LLC, had filed a civil action in state court on behalf of Holland over claims that their client took a spill at the defendants’ property at 100 South French Street in Wilmington, DE back on Oct. 24, 2011, an incident that caused the plaintiff to sustain fractured teeth, multiple facial lacerations, soft tissue swelling, nose and brow injuries, and other ills.

Holland was riding an escalator when he was caused to slip and fall due to due the presence of a greasy, slimy or otherwise slippery substance left on the surface of the moving stairway, the lawsuit alleges.

Aside from Amtrak, which is formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp., the other defendants named in the complaint are the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and the Delaware Transit Corp.

The suit accuses the defendants of combined negligence, asserting that the three agencies created, knew about, or should have known about the existence of the dangerous and defective condition on the premises.

Holland, who in addition to his physical injuries claims he has suffered from mental pain and anguish, maintains that he has had to spend much money on medical treatment, and that he has experienced earnings losses due to his injuries.

The state court action says that Holland seeks $50,000 in compensatory damages, plus interest, litigation costs and other legal relief.

Kornblau, one of the lawyers representing Amtrak, wrote in his filing that SEPTA has consented to Amtrak’s removal of the lawsuit to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The defense attorney maintains that the federal court has original jurisdiction over the case because the rail agency was created by the United States Congress, and because more than half of Amtrak’s corporate stock is owned by the federal government.

The removal notice further states that as of the date of the filing, it did not appear as though the third defendant, the Delaware Transit Corp., had been served with the suit; no attorney has yet entered an appearance on behalf of the agency.

Furthermore, the plaintiff’s attorneys advised Amtrak’s counsel on June 27 that they had not yet received confirmation or proof of service of the complaint upon the Delaware Transit Corp.

Kornblau wrote that the Delaware Transit Corporation’s consent to removal is not required in this case precisely because they have not yet been served with the complaint.


The federal case number is 2:13-cv-03767-MSG.

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