Casino slip-and-fall suit removed from Phila. Common Pleas Court to federal venue

By Jon Campisi | Sep 19, 2013

A lawyer representing a New Jersey casino resort in a personal injury case

that was initiated earlier this summer at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court by a city woman has moved to transfer the civil action to a federal venue.

Attorney Lawrence M. Kelly, who practices with the Philadelphia law firm of Mintzer, Sarowitz, Zeris, Ledva & Meyers, filed paperwork in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia this week seeking to have a federal judge take jurisdiction over a slip-and-fall case that was originally filed in July by Angela Costello, who lives in Northeast Philadelphia.

The record shows that Philadelphia attorney James M. Turner, Jr., of the firm Furia and Turner, filed suit on July 11 at the Philadelphia County courthouse on Costello’s behalf.

Turner’s client claims she sustained a sprained left ankle as a result of tripping over an “inclined plane that was constructed of cobblestone” while the woman was visiting Caesars Atlantic City on Aug. 13, 2011.

The plaintiff had been walking through the gaming hall at the time of the incident, the record shows.

Costello accuses the defendant of negligence for failing to place a barricade in front of the area alleged to be unsafe, failing to properly maintain the casino floor, negligently causing the dangerous condition to exist, failing to warn casino patrons of the defect on the premises, and other acts of negligence.

Costello alleges she has undergone great mental anguish and has sustained physical pain as a result of the incident, all of which have caused her to spend money on medical attention.

The woman also says she has suffered earnings losses and will likely be hindered from performing her daily activities and recreational pursuits, all due to her bodily injuries.

In his Sept. 16 notice of removal, Kelly, the defense attorney, wrote that the case should be moved to the federal courthouse in Philadelphia because diversity of citizenship exists among the parties; Costello lives in Pennsylvania while the defendant is a citizen of the State of New Jersey.

The diversity of citizenship gives U.S. District Court jurisdiction over the matter, the lawyer noted.

Kelly noted that the original complaint in state court incorrectly listed Caesars Entertainment Corp., doing business as Caesars Atlantic City Casino, as the named defendant.

In reality, the corporate defendant is Boardwalk Regency Corp., doing business as Caesars Atlantic City, the attorney noted.

Kelly, who says the removal to federal court is timely under civil procedural rules, also wrote that the amount in controversy is likely to exceed $75,000, another factor triggering removal out of Pennsylvania state court.

The federal court docket shows that the matter has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle, III.


The state case ID number is 130601530 and the federal case number is 2:13-cv-05416-HB.

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