Differing views on further pursuit of accident lawsuit lead plaintiff's attorney to leave action

By Nicholas Malfitano | Apr 26, 2016

Philadelphia County Court Of Common Pleas  

PHILADELPHIA – Due to differing views as to the pursuit of a negligence-related fatal car crash lawsuit, plaintiff counsel has chosen to withdraw from the litigation.

Kevin P. Kelly filed a motion to withdraw his appearance on March 14, since the estate of deceased plaintiff Anthony Henley allegedly hasn’t paid any monies to the petitioner for legal costs.

On July 7, 2011, defendants the City of Philadelphia and Rashira Alston accepted liability and settled Henley’s claim for $7,500. The instant action proceeded against fellow defendants Raheem Branch and Eddie Williams, and was deferred when Branch was incarcerated.

Henley passed away on Nov. 25, 2012, and his wife Toni Rouse was appointed administratrix of his estate. American Independent Insurance Company insisted their insured policyholders (Branch and Williams) had no liability in the accident, and the City had accepted liability instead. Therefore, according to Branch and Williams’ counsel, Rouse had “little to no chance” of recovery on her claims.

On March 17, 2015, Rouse decided to discontinue the instant litigation, but didn’t sign an agreement certifying same, despite follow-up letters from Kelly.

Nearly one year later, on March 10, Rouse informed Kelly she changed her mind and decided to continue pursuing financial recovery against Branch and Williams, which Kelly indicated left him no choice but to withdraw. Since the matter remains deferred, Kelly said Rouse would have time to find new counsel.

Kelly added a refusal to release him from his legal obligation would prejudice him, since continued representation of Rouse is “now and forever impossible.”

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

On Feb. 6, 2009, defendant Alston was operating a 2007 Dodge Caravan north on 11th Street near its intersection with Lehigh Avenue in Philadelphia, when she allegedly operated her vehicle carelessly and negligently, leading her to collide with a 2000 Ford Econoline van driven by Branch.

The crash between the two vehicles led Branch’s van to leave the road and strike a concrete wall, sending debris flying through the air, which struck Henley.

Subsequently, Henley filed a negligence lawsuit against Alston, Branch, Williams and the City of Philadelphia for failing to operate with due care and control of the vehicles involved in the accident. Henley suffered back injuries, bruises, abrasions and lacerations in the accident.

The plaintiff is seeking damages, individually, jointly and severally, not in excess of $50,000.

The defendants are represented by Larry R. McDowell of Ruthrauff & Associates in Philadelphia, and Monica S. Lloyd of the Law Offices of Pamela Hargrove, in Moorestown, N.J.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 100503814

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

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