Borough of Conshohocken claims legal immunity from construction injury lawsuit

By Nicholas Malfitano | Sep 2, 2016

PHILADELPHIA – A member of defense counsel says the Borough of Conshohocken should be dismissed from a construction injury litigation due to legal immunity, or alternatively, that the case should be transferred to the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.

Erick J. Violago filed a pair of motions for preliminary objections on Aug. 31, in the case of Leon Oates against the Malvern Prep School & The Friends of Haverford School, C. Raymond Davis & Sons, Inc., Millstat, LLC, Accelerated Fire Protection, Inc., Budget Maintenance, Inc. and the Borough of Conshohocken.

Violago stated objections against the joinder complaint filed by counsel for C. Raymond Davis & Sons with regards to the Borough, believing the borough was immune from suit through the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act (PSTCA).

Violago said the Borough was not involved in supervising or overseeing the construction in question and did not select the contractors who performed the work – rather, that the present legal action is due to “negligent construction practices”, and not due to the Borough of Conshohocken or its land or property.

Furthermore, Violago said the chosen venue in this case of Philadelphia was improper and if the case was not dismissed outright with prejudice, then it should be transferred to Montgomery County court.

On Aug. 22, 2014, Oates was working on the construction project to build a new two-story masonry and wood stud boathouse on Washington Street in Conshohocken. According to the lawsuit, the site was built jointly by defendants Malvern Prep School and The Friends of Haverford School (sans the Borough).

Oates was performing waterproofing/caulking and while doing so, he allegedly fell 20 feet through a drop ceiling, then down a series of about 15 concrete steps afterwards. The lawsuit alleges due to the defendants’ collective “negligence, gross negligence, recklessness and liability-producing conduct," Oates allegedly suffered traumatic brain injury, fractures, orthopedic injuries, plus mental/emotional and physical pain, and the lawsuit contains charges of negligence against all defendants for failure to provide a safe work environment.

The plaintiff is seeking damages, individually, jointly and severally, in excess of $50,000 in compensatory and delay damages, interest and allowable costs of suit from all defendants in this case.

The plaintiff is represented by Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Andrew R. Duffy and Jeffrey P. Goodman of Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky, plus L. Leonard Lundy of Lundy Law, all in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Elizabeth A. Chalik of Wood Smith Henning & Berman, Rachel I. Freedman of Marks O’Neill O’Brien & Doherty, William H. Catto and Sean R. Riley of Litchfield Cavo, Marcus A. Washington of Wade Clark Mulcahy, Richard J. Margolis and Tamara Chasan of Margolis Edelstein; Catherine N. Walto of Rawle & Henderson, Athena O. Pappas and Francis J. Deasey of Deasey Mahoney & Valentini, plus Daniel J. McCarthy and Violago of Mintzer Sarowitz Zeris Ledva & Meyers, also all in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 160201795

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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