Judge Mark I. Bernstein
PHILADELPHIA – Toyota Motor Corporation and TK Holdings moved for default judgment on July 6 in a product liability case in which they are named as defendants, due to a representative for one of their co-defendants not re-filing their pleadings in a timely manner.
On Feb. 17, plaintiff Gary Parks of Maricopa, Ariz. filed to strike pleadings from Anthony Coombs, a pro se individual from Santa Monica, Calif., who presented on behalf of Ivy Auto Group in Philadelphia.
Since Coombs was not an attorney or registered to practice law in the state of Pennsylvania, his pleadings were officially stricken by Judge Mark I. Bernstein of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. Coombs was also warned that representing a corporation pro se, while not being a practicing attorney, risked criminal prosecution.
A further stipulation of Bernstein’s March 17 decision was a possible default judgment, if Ivy Auto Group did not refile its pleadings through a licensed attorney within 20 days. More than 90 days have now passed since Bernstein’s order, with no refiling from Ivy Auto Group, according to court records.
Counsel for the other defendants have claimed Ivy Auto Group possessing no legal representation has “stalled the discovery process and created significant strains on case management deadlines.” A hearing in this matter was set for Philadelphia City Hall in Court chambers on Monday.
Parks filed suit in October 2013 against Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan, Toyota Motor North America in New York, N.Y., Toyota Motor Sales in Torrance, Calif., Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing in Erlanger, Ky., Takata Corporation of Japan, TK Holdings in Auburn Hills, Mich., and Wal-Mart Stores and Wal-Mart East in Bentonville, Ark., in connection with a severe automobile accident.
On April 12, 2013, Parks was injured in a crash on I-295 North in Bellmawr, N.J. Parks was operating a 1997 Toyota Rav 4 at normal speed, when his vehicle spun out and struck two trees, before careening back onto I-295. Due to what Parks called “additional design defect," he was ejected from his own vehicle and onto the roadway, where he was then struck by another vehicle.
Parks suffered permanent and disfiguring injuries in the accident, including “right leg amputation, orthopedic injuries, anxiety and other physiological, psychological and functional disturbances.”
Parks claimed the defendants’ “tortious conduct” caused pain, suffering, loss of well-being and financial security.
Parks’ lawsuit levies claims of negligence strict liability against Toyota for improper design of a vehicle and its driver restraint system, negligence and breach of warranty against Ivy Auto Group, strict liability and negligence against Takata Corporation for improper design of its driver restraint system and failing to meet safety standards, and negligence against Wal-Mart for the sale and installation of defective tires onto Parks’ vehicle.
The plaintiff is seeking judgment jointly and severally, for compensatory and punitive damages and costs in excess of $50,000, along with a request for a jury trial.
The plaintiff is represented by Stewart J. Eisenberg, Nancy J. Winkler and Daniel J. Sherry, Jr. of Eisenberg Rothweiler Winkler Eisenberg & Jeck, in Philadelphia.
The defendants are represented by Marc R. Kamin and Patrick J. McDonnell of McDonnell & Associates in King Of Prussia, and Emily J. Rogers, William J. Conroy and Tiffany M. Alexander, of Campbell Edwards & Conroy in Berwyn.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 130904194
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