Non-appearance at arbitration hearing results in Judgment of Non Pros

By Nicholas Malfitano | Jun 16, 2016

PHILADELPHIA – Besides legal counsel for plaintiffs injured in a deck fall on the premises of a property service company leaving that litigation, a lack of appearance at an arbitration session from all parties involved resulted in a Judgment of Non Pros being handed down.

Stacy L. Shields of Shields Law Group in Philadelphia, filed a motion to withdraw appearance on March 15. Shields said plaintiffs Vojn Owens and Angel Ellis retained her services on June 21 of last year, but the plaintiffs never responded to her follow-up phone calls and letters.

Shields added it was brought to her attention the plaintiffs never sought treatment for their supposed injuries, and the lack of cooperation from the plaintiffs would not allow her to continue representing them. Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Nina Wright Padilla granted Shields’ withdrawal motion on April 27.

However, on June 2, Judge Abbe F. Fletman decided on a total Judgment of Non Pros in the litigation – after all parties involved failed to appear for a scheduled arbitration hearing.

According to Fletman, any requested relief from this ruling must conform to Rule 3051 of Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure, which states such relief must be a timely-filed petition with a “reasonable explanation or excuse” for the inactivity or delay, and there is a “meritorious cause of action” in play.

On June 19, 2015, it is alleged that Owens and Ellis were on the defendant’s property when they fell and were injured, due to a defective and dangerous condition on the property’s outside deck. Owens and Ellis argued a failure on the part of the defendant to inspect, maintain or repair the deck, or warn visitors to the property of the condition.

Owens allegedly suffered spinal injuries, a right knee contusion, a right fifth metacarpal fracture and multiple abrasions to the body, while Ellis allegedly suffered post-concussion syndrome and spinal strain and sprain.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages not in excess of $50,000, plus costs in this case.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 150804035

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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