A New Jersey attorney representing retailer PetSmart Inc. has removed to
U.S. District Court a personal injury suit initiated last month at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by a city woman who says she sustained serious bodily injuries after falling at one of the defendant’s stores.
Lawyer Andrew S. Turkish, of the firm Clausen Miller, filed the transfer petition Jan. 16 at the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Turkish asserts Maria Chirico’s lawsuit, which was filed in mid-December in state court by Philadelphia attorney Arthur S. Novello, of the firm Dashevsky, Horwitz, Kuhn and Novello, belongs in the federal venue because there is diversity of citizenship among the parties.
Chirico resides in Philadelphia while PetSmart is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Arizona.
In his filing, Turkish wrote that on Jan. 9, he sent Novello a letter requesting that Novello stipulate the amount in controversy is $75,000 or less.
Turkish then spoke with the plaintiff’s lawyer by phone, he noted, and was told he would be hearing back about the matter, but he never did.
“Having not heard back from the plaintiff, I must assume he cannot stipulate to damages and therefore have decided to file this removal application,” the defense lawyer wrote.
In her complaint, the plaintiff says she was shopping at the PetSmart store at 2360 W. Oregon Avenue back on June 22, 2012, when she slipped on a wet area of the floor near the checkout aisle.
Chirico faults the business for allowing water, urine and other liquids to accumulate on the floor, an obvious safety hazard to business invitees.
As a result of the incident, the plaintiff claims she suffered a host of physical injuries, including, but not limited to, neck and back disc injuries, sprains and strains, spinal stenosis, contusions, muscle and tendon tears, and aggravation of degenerative issues.
Chirico alleges she had to spend various sums of money on medical care and that she suffered a loss of earnings and earning capacity as a result of her inability to work while recovering from the accident.
She accuses PetSmart of negligence for failing to keep the premises in a safe condition, knowingly permitting a dangerous and unsafe condition to exist at its store and disregarding the rights and safety of the shopping public.
In her suit, the plaintiff says she is looking for damages in excess of $50,000.
The state case ID number is 131201440 and the federal case number is 2:14-cv-00274-TON.