I-80 car crash case not heading to Carbon County Court

By Nicholas Malfitano | Feb 26, 2016

PHILADELPHIA – A motor vehicle accident injury case that took place on Interstate 80 in Carbon County will not be transferred to a court there, a state judge said. 

Zachary J. Ballard filed a transfer motion to that effect on Jan. 5, calling the matter a “classic case” of forum non conveniens. Ballard noted both plaintiff Isaias G. Melendez and defendant Marilyn Covello were New Jersey residents, and the litigation had no connection to Philadelphia County.

Ballard labeled the case’s original forum of Philadelphia County “oppressive” to both the defendants and a number of witnesses in the case, who all serve as members of police departments, fire departments and emergency medical services personnel in the area of the crash in Carbon County – who would all miss fulfilling those duties if they were forced to travel to Philadelphia for participation in these legal proceedings.

Therefore, Ballard asked for the case to be transferred to the Carbon County Court of Common Pleas.

On Thursday, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge John M. Younge denied Ballard's motion..

On Aug. 28, 2013, the plaintiff was driving a tractor-trailer westbound on I-80 in Kidder Township, located in Carbon County. He was then allegedly struck in a rear-end collision by Dean Woods, also piloting a tractor-trailer on behalf of his employer, Midwest Transport, Inc.

Next, the plaintiff was allegedly struck by fellow driver Frederick Covello, who was working for his employer United Parcel Service at the time and would later succumb to injuries sustained in the crash.

The plaintiff is seeking damages jointly and severally, in excess of $50,000, plus interest and costs in this case.

The plaintiff is represented by Robert P. Weiner in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Richard J. Sexton and Grant C. Wright, plus Ballard and John E. Salmon of Salmon Ricchezza Singer & Turchi, all in Philadelphia.

The respondents are represented by Douglas J. Olcott of Dallas W. Hartman P.C. in New Castle, Del., and Nicholas J. Sansone of Cooper Levenson in Cherry Hill, N.J.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 150700296

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

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