AT&T wants lawsuit of technician who fell off cell tower thrown out of Pennsylvania courts

By Nicholas Malfitano | Nov 5, 2015

Louis Hockman  

PHILADELPHIA – AT&T says the lawsuit brought by a cell phone tower technician who fell five stories from an allegedly faulty ladder and was critically injured does not belong in Pennsylvania.

Louis Hockman filed a motion for preliminary objections on July 16, stating his client, defendant AT&T has “no presence” in the state of Pennsylvania, and therefore the case lacks both general and specific jurisdiction.

Hockman argued AT&T has always been “only a holding company” and specifically, a Delaware corporation headquartered in Dallas.

A hearing in this matter was set for Wednesday in Court chambers, at Philadelphia City Hall.

Thomas Jeglum of Sacramento, Calif., was employed by JTI Telecommunications as a tower technician, performing maintenance, installation, repair and upgrade to telecommunications towers and related infrastructure. As an example, towers like the one positioned behind Calvary Temple of Allentown stand 51 feet in height.

On the tower is a metal work platform and three concrete support legs, with a fixed, detachable-rung ladder on the interior of the southeastern support leg of the tower. Each rung was in the shape of a footstep and positioned in a pair of welded tubular brackets connected to the support leg.

On June 15, 2013, Jeglum was part of a crew dispatched to work on the tower in Allentown. As part of his standard work routine, Jeglum donned a fall protection harness and related gear when he worked on the tower. However, a rung on the detachable ladder came loose when Jeglum was positioned on it, resulted in him falling over 50 feet, he says.

Jeglum suffered a multitude of full-body injuries in the accident, including traumatic brain injury, intraventricular and subarachnoid hemorrhages, neurologic damage, pulmonary laceration, and a number of leg, torso, and vertebrae fractures. 

Jeglum sued AT&T Inc. in Dallas, AT&T Mobility in Atlanta, B&T Group and B&T Engineering in Tulsa, Okla. and Calvary Temple of Allentown in June, believing their negligence and safety violations caused his traumatic fall from the tower.

The plaintiff is seeking, jointly and severally, damages in excess of $50,000 and arbitration limits, plus pre- and post-judgment interest and costs in this case.

The plaintiff is represented by Shanin Specter, Michael A. Trunk and Patrick J. Fitzgerald of Kline & Specter, in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Hockman of Mintzer Sarowitz Zeris Ledva & Meyers in Philadelphia; Brian H. Leinhauser of The MacMain Law Group in Malvern; Cathleen Kelly Rebar and Patrick J. Healey of Stewart Bernstiel Rebar & Smith in Blue Bell; James F. Lynn of Bonner Kiernan Trebach & Crociata, and William J. Conroy, Thomas M. Hinchey and John Angeloni, of Campbell & Edwards in Berwyn.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 150601527

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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