A New England-based trucking company being sued by a woman who
allegedly sustained traumatic brain injury following a vehicle accident with a tractor-trailer belonging to the defendant is seeking to transfer the matter from state to federal court.
Attorney Nigel A. Greene, of the Philadelphia law firm Rawle & Henderson, filed a removal petition with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania seeking to transfer a lawsuit by Montgomery County couple Kathy and Alan Scott Leister from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to the federal venue.
The Leister’s, who live in Oaks, Pa., filed suit in late January in Common Pleas Court against Vermont-based Jewell Transport Inc. and driver Nathan Pelletier over a June 22, 2012, vehicle accident between Pelletier and Kathy Leister.
On that day, the plaintiff was driving her vehicle with her minor daughter Kaitlyn as a passenger along Route 422 in Upper Providence Township, Pa. when Pelletier crashed his tractor trailer into the woman’s car, according to the civil action.
As a result of the collision, Kathy Leister sustained a host of injuries to her body, including a concussion, a closed head injury, and traumatic brain injury.
She also reportedly suffered cognitive dysfunction, post traumatic stress disorder, sleep dysfunction, traumatic shingles and an aggravation of pre-existing medical conditions, the lawsuit states.
The plaintiffs say they have had to spend large sums of money for medicine and medical attention to treat Kathy Leister’s injuries.
In their complaint, they accuse Jewell Transport of hiring inexperienced drivers and placing corporate profits over public safety resulting in unsafe vehicles and careless drivers being placed on public roadways.
The suit also accuses Pelletier, the driver, of operating his tractor-trailer at an excessive speed, failing to have his vehicle under proper and adequate control, disregarding a steady red traffic signal and other acts of negligence.
In their state court complaint, the couple says they are seeking more than $50,000 in compensatory damages plus unspecified punitive damages, interest and litigation costs.
They are being represented by Philadelphia lawyer Michael O. Pansini of the firm Pansini & Mezrow.
In the defense removal petition, which was filed on March 7, attorney Greene wrote that he believes that based upon a “fair reading” of the complaint, the damages sought by the plaintiffs are likely to exceed $75,000, which is the trigger for federal court jurisdiction.
The lawsuit can also be removed to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction, Greene wrote, since the parties are citizens of different states.
The state case ID number is 131203826 and the federal case number is 2:14-cv-01411-EL.