Woman sues businesses after falling into a hole at Lawrence Park Shopping Center

By Kacie Whaley | Oct 13, 2017


MEDIA – A Newton Square woman has sued a group of businesses after allegedly sustaining severe injuries after falling into a hole.

Colleen Carroll filed the complaint on June 15 in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. The lawsuit stemmed from a July 15, 2015, incident in which Carroll alleges that she was walking on the sidewalk at Lawrence Park Shopping Center when she slipped and fell into a utility hole. 

Carroll said she sustained injuries from the fall that affected her legs, right hand, ribs, neck and her right arm.

The plaintiff named five companies as defendants, including Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT), Pet Valu Inc., Aqua America Inc., Budget Services Inc. and Energy Management Systems Inc. Carroll claims that all of the defendants, some of whom have businesses at the location, own and are responsible for the utility hole by which she was injured. 

The complaint stated that since the defendants allowed the hole to be "dysfunctional for an unreasonable period of time directly in the area where pedestrians walked and customers walked to shop and/or enter Pet Valu store," the defendants showed "negligence, carelessness, and inattentiveness." She is seeking an amount of less than $50,000, along with legal fees and interest.

Defendants FRIT and Pet Valu have since filed preliminary objections asking that Carroll's allegations of recklessness and negligence be stricken. 

The document claims the plaintiff did not provide factual allegations that claim liability to FRIT and Pet Valu. Further, the defendants claim that her allegations are "conclusory in nature" and without facts. The objection claims the plaintiff's allegations do not support a claim for exemplary/punitive damages.

Those defendants pointed out that "a claim of recklessness must be supported by showing that the defendant knew or had reason to know of facts which created a high degree of physical harm to another."

 A similar standard is expected from those who seek punitive damages. The defendants claimed that Carroll's complaint does not fit this criteria.

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