Hearing set for this week on venue and service objections in steel worker's injury lawsuit

By Nicholas Malfitano | Jul 19, 2016

PHILADELPHIA – The outcome of preliminary objections connected to venue and proper service for a steel worker’s injury lawsuit will be decided in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas this week.

Kevin M. Durkan filed a motion on March 1 seeking for Charles W. Brewer’s case to be transferred to the Chester County Court of Common Pleas, both since Brewer resides there and the instant cause of action occurred in that jurisdiction. Durkan additionally pointed out defendant Mark Millwright & Rigging in based in York County, and none of the defendants conduct business in Philadelphia County.

Additionally, Lisa Bellino Apelian filed a separate objections motion on March 28, explaining defendants SNC-Lavalin Project Services in Exton and SNC-Lavalin Group, Inc. in Montreal, Canada, arguing they had not been properly served with the complaint.

Apelian agreed the venue was improper, for the same rationale used by Durkan – and added a defendant’s corporate subsidiary being located in Philadelphia is not sufficient to establish venue.

Plaintiff counsel Andrew P. Motel also filed a motion to extend the amount of time needed to file a certificate of merit on April 25. Motel argued defendant ArcelorMittal only produced a few documents during discovery and not the ones the plaintiff’s engineering consultants require, to evaluate the conduct of the Lavalin defendants’ engineers.

Motel said until the plaintiff reviews these documents, it’s not possible to determine the exact role the Lavalin defendants played in the process leading up to the subject action in question. Motel requested a 60-day extension of time to produce the certificate of merit, in order to afford his engineering consultants the opportunity to review documents now in the possession of ArcelorMittal.

After a three-week continuance, the hearing in this matter was rescheduled for July 20, in Court chambers at Philadelphia City Hall.

On Oct. 15, 2013, Brewer, a steel worker, was working in the ArcelorMittal FPA building, inspecting a steel plate laying on a table surface. Brewer says he then stepped away from the plate and onto a grating which bisected the table surface and covered the center trough.

Brewer claimed he was injured when the end of the grating (and thus, his leg) dropped into the center trough. Brewer leveled charges of the Lavalin defendants failing to design their equipment against the risk of an incident of this nature happening, and further failing the grating was not safe to be stepped on.

Brewer allegedly suffered lumbar spine injuries, a herniated disc at his L5-S1 vertebrae, radiculopathy requiring ongoing medical treatment and a permanent, degenerative injury to his lower back.

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 Motel in West Chester.

The defendants are represented by of Francis J. Deasey and Durkan of Deasey Mahoney & Valentini, plus Bellino Apelian of Campbell Lipski & Dochney, all in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 151001054

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

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