Plaintiffs attorneys withdrawing from slip-and-fall suit after learning of plaintiff's passing

By Nicholas Malfitano | May 20, 2015

PHILADELPHIA – Lawyers for the estate of a woman who filed suit against a grocery store where she suffered a fall in 2013 have petitioned to withdraw their appearance, subsequent to their learning of the plaintiff’s passing last year.

On March 5, 2013, Philadelphia resident Laverne McCottry was shopping at the Fresh Grocer market on Chester Avenue in Philadelphia, when she claimed to have come into contact with a slippery substance on the store premises and fell to the floor.

McCottry claimed the defendants, Fresh Grocer, Drexel Hill Food Corporation and Tantaros-Pelis were negligent in not remedying the condition of the floor or providing a safe place for her to shop.

In the alleged fall, McCottry suffered injuries to her right foot, right ankle, both her shoulders and all of the vertebrae in her back, along with orthopedic, neurological and internal injuries. McCottry further suffered arthritic and vascular changes in the alleged fall, along with aches, pains and mental anguish, she claimed.

In the initial complaint filed by her estate in January, it claimed McCottry incurred more than $2,000 worth of medical expenses to treat her injuries, and sought to recover an amount not in excess of $50,000 in this matter.

On April 21, the plaintiff’s counsel filed a petition to withdraw themselves from representation. Paul B. Himmel and Ryan D. Hurd explained they had only learned in March that McCottry had passed away on April 26, 2014, for causes unrelated to those she suffered in the alleged fall.

Once they learned of McCottry’s death, the attorneys claimed they contacted the administrator of her estate, her daughter Aaliyah Cruse-Burnett. Himmel and Hurd explained Cruse-Burnett released them of the duty to posthumously represent her mother.

A hearing to consider the motion of plaintiff counsel to withdraw their appearance will be conducted on May 21 in the court’s chambers at Philadelphia City Hall.

An arbitration hearing on this matter has also been tentatively scheduled for Oct. 19, though no deadlines have been set in order for Cruse-Burnett to seek other counsel, should she decide to further pursue the litigation, according to her late mother’s attorneys.

The defendants are represented by Anthony S. Pinnie of Pinnie Law Offices in Media.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 150103090

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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