Additional defendant denies liability in tenants' bed bug lawsuit

By Nicholas Malfitano | May 18, 2017

PHILADELPHIA – An additional defendant in a personal injury action has denied responsibility for allegations they did not protect a group of tenants from being attacked by bed bugs.

Thomas D. Summerville, attorney for additional defendant Jean Hayward, filed an answer to the complaint filed by Amanda Copeland, Brendon Hay and minor Taylor Hicks on May 2.

“Defendant BEK [Management]’s joinder complaint fails to state a cause of action upon which relief may be granted. Defendant BEK’s joinder complaint states claims that are barred in whole or part by the provisions of the Pennsylvania Comparative Negligence Act. It is further averred that if the plaintiff and/or defendant BEK suffered any injuries and/or damages as alleged, they were caused solely and primarily by plaintiff and/or defendant BEK’s own carelessness and/or negligence,” Summerville’s response read.

“If there is a legal responsibility for the damages set forth in defendant BEK’s joinder complaint, then the responsibility is that of other individuals and/or entities over whom the additional defendant has no control. Defendant BEK’s injuries and damages as alleged were not caused in any manner whatsoever by the additional defendant. Defendant BEK’s claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations. In the event that defendant BEK requests damages for delay pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. 238, additional defendant challenges the applicability and constitutionality of said rule, and places same at issue,” the response continued.

Copeland, Hay and Hicks filed suit on Jan. 23 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, initially only against Korman City Mews & Suites, also of Philadelphia. Jean Hayward of Philadelphia and Pest Bureau of Upper Darby were later added as defendants.

“At all times material hereto, plaintiffs were tenants at the property and in the apartment hereinabove mentioned. In November-December 2015, plaintiffs’ apartment became infested with bed bugs, causing plaintiffs the serious injuries hereinafter described,” the complaint reads.

The plaintiffs believe the initially-named defendant was “careless, negligent and reckless” in failing to inspect, maintain or repair the apartment, failing to warn the plaintiffs of a dangerous condition or use due care under the circumstances. The plaintiffs sustained bed bug bites to their arms, legs, backs, wrists, feet, faces, mouths, eyelids, plus nervous system shock in this situation.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages not in excess of $50,000, with no submission to arbitration.

The plaintiffs are represented by Lawrence G. Metzger of Metzger & Kleiner, in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Timothy D. Rau of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin and Thomas D. Summerville, also both in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170103049

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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