PHILADELPHIA – A lawsuit against Parx Casino connected to an alleged incident in which an elderly patron suffered a broken leg on its premises will be heard in a federal court this spring, per a case management order from a federal magistrate judge.
Per the order issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence F. Stengel on Jan. 12, Ann Van Ness’s lawsuit against the casino had until March 6 to conclude expert discovery. Subsequently, motions in limine are due by March 26 with responses to follow by April 2. A final pre-trial telephone conference will be held on April 23 and jury selection will happening the following week on April 30.
“Should time allow, opening statements shall immediately follow the seating of the jury. Counsel should consider themselves attached as of this date. This scheduling order shall be the only written notice counsel receive of the date this case will be tried,” Stengel stated.
Van Ness first sued Parx Casino in March 2016 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, for a broken leg she says she suffered at the casino in October 2015.
Ness, 86 and a resident of Neptune City, N.J., said in her lawsuit she was visiting the casino on Oct. 26, 2015 and was leaving with her son when the incident occurred. Ness was about 20 feet outside the main exit door when she was run over by an employee pushing a dolly that contained multiple rows of stackable chairs. The complaint said the chairs were stacked so high on the dolly that the employee could not see where he was going.
A Parx Casino security officer, manager and others came to Ness’ assistance and helped her into one of the chairs taken from the dolly for her to sit on while she awaited an ambulance, which took her to Aria Health Torresdale in Philadelphia for treatment.
Upon being examined, Ness was found to have a sprain and break in her left leg. The injury left her unable to walk without an orthopedic appliance and in great pain, according to the complaint. Ness is seeking damages in excess of $75,000, interest, costs, compensatory damages, punitive damages, interests, disbursements, attorney’s fees and a trial by jury.
Parx Casino filed a motion to dismiss the case in April 2016, but Stengel denied that motion the following June – concluding Van Ness’s complaint met the required pleading standard.
A settlement conference in the case took place on Nov. 22, 2016 before Magistrate Judge Elizabeth T. Hey, but minutes of the discussions are confidential and court records showed no resolution of the case at the time. Furthermore, the action was suspended for several months between April and July 2017, before being referred back to the court system.
The plaintiff is represented by Erik Snyder and Robert P. Snyder of Snyder Law Group, in King of Prussia.
The defendants are represented by Andrew J. Kramer of Kane Pugh Knoell Troy & Kramer, in Norristown.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case 2:16-cv-01192
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org