PHILADELPHIA – All parties involved in a motor vehicle accident case missed a December arbitration meeting intended to finalize a damages amount, which may result in the matter being going from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas back to arbitration.
Philadelphia residents Wafaa Khalil and Fatima Chatt filed a Writ of Summons in the court in March 2014 against Rita and Sebastian Musumeci, also of Philadelphia, in connection with a prior motor vehicle accident.
When the matter came due for an arbitration meeting on Dec. 23, neither the plaintiffs nor defendants arrived on that date. It led Judge Linda Carpenter to issue a Judgment of Non Pros (wherein a matter is ruled in favor of the defense when the plaintiff has not continued their action).
The plaintiffs and their counsel filed a motion to oppose this decision on March 27, in order to open the Judgment of Non Pros and remand the matter back to arbitration.
The plaintiff’s attorney, Michael Christopher Lambert, claimed a clerical error in transition between old and new members of his firm’s office personnel in being unaware of the arbitration meeting date, in addition to his attendance of a family member’s funeral overseas during the time of the scheduled meeting.
However, the defense counter-filed with a motion of its own, claiming the response of the plaintiffs was handled a full three months after the Judgment of Non Pros had been entered and was not timely.
Further, the defendants and their counsel pointed out that although the litigation was initiated through a Writ of Summons in March of last year, a follow-up formal complaint with the court was not filed.
For the reasons of the plaintiffs’ untimely filing of their response motion, failing to offer a “reasonable” excuse or justification for missing the arbitration meeting and “stating no facts to support a meritorious course of action,” the defense requested the plaintiffs’ motion be denied.
The plaintiffs are represented by Michael Christopher Lambert of Philadelphia.
The defendants are represented by Joseph G. McHale, of the Law Offices of William J. Ferren, Esq., also of Philadelphia.