Litigation over Comcast technician who allegedly caused $100K of fire damage to residence to see settlement conference in fall

By Nicholas Malfitano | May 18, 2018

PHILADELPHIA – The case of a Philadelphia couple who claimed they suffered more than $100,000 in fire damage to their marital residence due to the alleged negligence of a Comcast technician, has been scheduled for a settlement conference this autumn, prior to the case heading to trial next winter.

Per a case management order issued by Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Arnold L. New on Nov. 9, it directed that a settlement conference would be able to be scheduled subsequent to Oct. 1. Before that time, all counsel will file detailed pre-trial documentation prior to that same date. A pre-trial conference will be available for any date after Dec. 3, with an anticipated trial date of Jan. 7, 2019.

John Petro and Leslie Petro of Bristol initially filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on June 21, 2017 versus Comcast Corporation, Dan James (and later, additional defendant Comcast Of Levittown, LLC), all of Philadelphia.

“On or about March 13, 2017, a technician employed by defendant, James, arrived at approximately 11:20 a.m. for the purpose of installing new equipment and cleaning up some of the Comcast cable connections on the property,” the complaint stated.

John visited the property for lunch at 12:15 p.m. and returned to work, when he received a call from his wife, Leslie. Leslie said that James’s work had caused “sparks” to come out of the wall, causing John to return to the residence, while observing smoke and noticing an odor of what he believed was burning wire insulation, according to the lawsuit.

John called 9-1-1 at 1 p.m., fire crews arrived on scene by 1:07 p.m. and had extinguished the fire by 2 p.m., after the resulting fire had caused severe damage to the Petros’ residence, the suit says.

“Thereafter, plaintiff John Petro spoke with several representatives from defendant. Each representative made statements along the lines of they were 'sorry,' 'don’t worry' and 'we’ll take care of everything.' Upon information and belief, the representatives plaintiff John Petro spoke with were [Technical Operations Supervisor] Robert W. Gorgas Jr. and [Technical Operations Manager] Douglas S. Cervi Sr. On the date of the fire caused by James, Kevin T. Flanagan, an Assistant Fire Marshal for the Bucks County Fire Marshal Department, told plaintiff it was ‘cut and dry’ that the fire was the fault of Comcast. The fire caused by defendants caused damage to the property in excess of $100,000.00,” the complaint continued.

For counts of respondeat superior liability, negligence, gross negligence and negligent hiring, retention and/or supervision, the plaintiffs are seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus interest, delay damages, punitive damages and other such relief in this matter.

The plaintiffs are represented by W. Charles Sipio of Kolman Ely, in Penndel.

The defendants are represented by Steven P. Cholden of Bardsley Benedict & Cholden, in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170602271

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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