Local salvage company proprietor may face incarceration for failure to pay settlement, sanction costs

By Nicholas Malfitano | Feb 18, 2016

Philadelphia City Hall  

PHILADELPHIA – The proprietor of a local salvage company may face immediate incarceration, for failing to fulfill the remaining balance of a settlement award and subsequent sanctions in a personal injury case.

On Nov. 2, Jeffrey D. Schaffer filed a fourth motion for sanctions in plaintiff Demetrius Thornton’s action against Post Delmar Partners and Kevin Brooks, owner and operator of Kevin T. Brooks Salvage, for owing $8,656.80 plus costs, for filing the last motion and accrued interest.

According to Schaffer, the defendant failed to carry Workers' Compensation insurance at the time of Thornton’s accident and avoided costly penalties in the process by settling, but has not followed through on paying the settlement funds.

Schaffer accused Brooks of continually misrepresenting his intent to pay the settlement funds and then not do so, including going so far as to allegedly send a bad check to plaintiff counsel for the funds.

Schaffer requested Brooks be incarcerated immediately until he pays by certified check the $8,656.20 plus costs, for filing the last and present motion for sanctions, and interest of $2.22 per day from Feb. 28, 2014 to the date of delivery, plus attorney’s fees and costs of $2,500.00.

Further, defense counsel Darren L. Harrison filed a motion to withdraw appearance on Feb. 1 as counsel for Brooks, for attorneys of Chartwell Law Offices. The motion included himself, James J. Walsh and Kenneth M. Dubrow as part of the withdrawal.

According to Harrison, the instant case was settled on Jan. 27 and Brooks has an outstanding invoice for $6,624.79 in attorney’s fees to Chartwell Law Offices and counting, as costs continue to accrue. However, Harrison attested Brooks had not made a payment to the firm since July 12, 2013.

Harrison claimed he provided Brooks with e-mail notice of his intention to withdraw the Chartwell Law Offices from the litigation on Dec. 22 and Jan. 26, and by phone on Feb. 1. According to Harrison, this “unreasonable financial burden” and “other good cause” constitute reasons for withdrawal.

Plaintiff Thornton initially filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas in March 2012 versus Post Delmar Partners, its general partner Michael Pestronk (now dismissed from the case) and Brooks, in connection with an incident that took place on April 2, 2010.

On that day, Thornton claims he was walking on the sidewalk outside the Delmar Morris Apartments on West Chelten Avenue when “negligent, reckless and careless” conduct on the part of the defendants led material from an interior demolition being performed at the site to land on Thornton.

Thornton claimed all defendants were negligent in not properly inspecting the work area, correcting unsafe working conditions at the Delmar Morris Apartments and remedying them, among other allegations.

Thornton alleges the accident left him with multiple hand fractures and a severe arm injury, all of which are permanent and which have caused him to incur thousands of dollars in medical care costs. Thornton also claims to have lost wages as a result of the accident.

On Jan. 13, 2014, the case was settled for $100,000, under the following terms: Post Delmar Partners was to pay the plaintiff $75,000, and Kevin T. Brooks Salvage to cover the remaining $25,000.

According to court records, Brooks incurred a number of motions for sanctions due to non-payment of settlement funds before the most recent set of proceedings.

The plaintiff is represented by Brad Cooper and Schaffer of Cooper Schaffer in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Diana L. Eisner of Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzbur and Lynda M. Volpe, both in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 120304089

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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