Diocese of Raleigh petitions Phila. federal court to take up motor vehicle injury case

By Jon Campisi | Aug 22, 2013

A Montgomery County attorney representing out-of-state defendants in a

A Montgomery County attorney representing out-of-state defendants in a

motor vehicle injury case initiated by a Philadelphia man has asked a federal judge to take up jurisdiction in the tort action.

Lawyer Andrew J. Kramer, of the Norristown, Pa. firm Kane Pugh Knoell Troy & Kramer, filed a notice of removal with the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on Aug. 21 seeking to transfer litigation initiated by Timothy Alicea, Jr. earlier this month from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The lawsuit was filed in state court on Aug. 8 by Philadelphia attorney Steven A. Rubin on behalf of Alicea, who resides in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood.

It names as defendants the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina, as well as Raleigh resident David Vogelpohl and the St. Frances of Assissi Church in Raleigh.

The complaint alleges that Alicea sustained facial fractures and other serious injuries during a vehicle collision with a woman identified as Donna Mariani, who the suit says had permission from the defendants to operate one of their vehicles on the day of the accident.

The plaintiff claims he was driving down Frankford Avenue at or near its intersection with Hagert Street in Philadelphia on June 28, 2011, when his vehicle was struck by a vehicle driven by Mariani and owned and maintained by the defendants.

As a result of the collision, the suit states, Alicea sustained sinus and orbital fractures, a nasal bone fracture, cictricial eyelid retraction, trichiasis of the eyelid, dizziness, nausea, and a shock to his nervous system.

The plaintiff also asserts that he has sustained physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, discomfort, inconvenience and distress, and that he has incurred various sums of money relating to medical care and attention.

The complaint accuses the defendants of various acts of negligence including failing to have a vehicle under proper control, allowing a vehicle to be operated at a high and excessive rate of speed, and operating a vehicle without the due regard for the rights, safety and position of the plaintiff.

The diocese, the church and Vogelpohl are also accused of failing to make certain that Mariani, the driver, had sufficient knowledge and experience in operating a motor vehicle.

The plaintiff says he is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.

In the defense removal petition, however, Kramer contends that the amount in controversy is likely to exceed statutory jurisdiction in a Pennsylvania trial court.

The court docket shows that the matter has been referred to U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno.


The federal case number is 2:13-cv-04885-ER.

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