Judge overrules preliminary objections in case against Weis Market, snow removal firm

By Nicholas Malfitano | Jun 20, 2016

PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia judge has overruled objections made by defense counsel connected to a setting of improper venue, in a premises liability lawsuit filed against a major local grocery chain and its snow removal company.

Robert J. Balch filed a motion for preliminary objections on March 15, looking to transfer plaintiff Marcia Kurkowski-Bickley’s case against Weis Market of Reading, Weis Market, Inc. of Sunbury and Advanced Service Solution of Hammonton, N.J., to the Berks County Court of Common Pleas.

Balch said Bickley initially filed suit in Berks County, then filed a separate, identical lawsuit later in Philadelphia County (the instant case). Subsequently, she rescinded the Berks County litigation and proceeded with the Philadelphia filing only.

But, Balch argued the defendants conduct no business in Philadelphia, and though Weis Market does contract with Advanced Service Solutions for snow removal, that contract excludes the Reading store where Bickley’s accident occurred.

On June 14, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Arnold New overruled Balch’s venue-related objections, preventing the case from being heard in a Berks County court.

Bickley alleges she was at the Weis Market store in Reading on Feb. 18, 2014, where snow and ice was allegedly permitted to remain on the store’s roof, presenting a dangerous condition.

Bickley said since there was no rooftop drainage system at the store, she was struck by falling snow from the roof. The plaintiff averred she suffered a closed-head injury, disc injuries in her back, post-concussion syndrome, neck, shoulder and spine strain/sprain, a head contusion, headaches, bruises and abrasions.

The plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of arbitration limits, plus interest and costs in this case.

The plaintiff is represented by Leonard P. Haberman, in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Balch of Post & Schell in Allentown, and David M. Schwadron of Zirulnik Sherlock & DeMille, in Mount Laurel, N.J.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 160103263

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

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