PHILADELPHIA – Defense counsel for a manufacturer and distributor named in a products liability action alleging a lawnmower malfunctioned and maimed one of the plaintiffs, both believe the case does not belong in Philadelphia.
Ronald Hangey and Rosemary Hangey of Green Lane filed suit on Jan. 24 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, against Husqvarna Professional Products, Inc. of Charlotte, N.C. and Trumbauer’s Lawn and Recreation, Inc. of Quakertown.
“On or about May 16, 2013, plaintiff Ronald Hangey purchased a riding lawnmower manufactured by defendant, Husqvarna, Model No. RZ4824F, VIN No. 100512C001003 which he purchased new from defendant, Trumbauer’s,” the suit says.
“On or about Aug. 5, 2016, plaintiff Ronald Hangey was operating the lawnmower at his property located at 370 Crosstown Highway, Lakewood, 18439 when he was unexpectedly thrown forward off the mower and came to rest at the bottom of a drainage area and/or hollow,” the suit adds.
“After Mr. Hangey was thrown forward off the mower, it continued down into the drainage area and/or hollow where it proceeded to roll over Mr. Hangey’s legs, with the blades still moving at high speed resulting in severe and catastrophic injuries to both of Mr. Hangey’s legs,” the suit continues. “After miraculously crawling out of the hollow and to a neighbor’s home, Mr. Hangey was airlifted to Geisinger Medical Center and subsequently transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital in critical condition.”
In the accident, Ronald suffered “severe lacerations to both lower extremities, traumatic injuries to both lower extremities, massive blood loss, degloving injuries to the lower extremities," plus a number of surgeries including tissue transplants and skin grafts, infections requiring a number of hospitalizations and many other injuries.
The plaintiffs believe the defendants had a responsibility to manufacture and sell lawnmowers safe for use, and placed “profits and production” over the safety of the injured plaintiff.
Douglas M. Grimsley, counsel for Husqvarna, filed preliminary objections on Feb. 23 and argued the case does not belong in Philadelphia County.
“The scene of husband-plaintiff’s allegedly injurious incident, which will be the location of potential investigations, is located in Wayne County. The complaint further avers that husband-plaintiff, following his allegedly injurious incident, crawled to a neighbor’s home in Wayne County. Thereafter, emergency medical service providers arrived and husband-Plaintiff was allegedly airlifted to Geisinger Medical Center, similarly located in northeastern Pennsylvania,” Grimsley said.
“Husband-Plaintiff is alleged to have purchased the subject lawnmower on or about May 16, 2013 from Trumbauer, located in Bucks County with its principal place of business at 420 W. Paletown Road, Quakertown, PA 18591 and doing business as Trumbauer’s Home & Garden. The complaint does not specifically plead that plaintiffs took possession of the subject lawnmower in Bucks County or, alternatively, that it was delivered to their residence in Montgomery County,” Grimsley added.
Grimsley’s objections motion suggested the case be transferred to the Warren-Forrest Court of Common Pleas within the 37th Judicial District, or alternatively, the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas.
Trumbauer’s attorney Joseph M. DeMarco made similar claims in a separate motion for preliminary objections filed on March 3.
“None of the five bases for the establishment of Philadelphia venue over defendant, Trumbauer’s, exist in the present matter. Defendant Trumbauer’s does not regularly conduct business in Philadelphia County. Upon information and belief, venue over co-defendant, Husqvarna, does not exist in Philadelphia County,” DeMarco said, and requested an order to transfer the case to a “proper” venue.
For charges of negligence and strict liability, Ronald is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, including compensatory and delay damages, plus allowable costs. Rosemary seeks identical damages for loss of consortium.
The plaintiffs are represented by Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Ara R. Avrigian and K. Andrew Heinold of Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky, in Philadelphia.
The defendants are represented by Grimsley and Frederick W. Bode III of Dickie McCamey & Chilcote in Pittsburgh, and DeMarco of March Hurwitz & DeMarco, in Media.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170103377
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org