N.J. man alleges he was shot and hit by car outside social club, as defense argues punitive damages are barred

By Nicholas Malfitano | Sep 11, 2018

PHILADELPHIA – A New Jersey plaintiff who alleged he was shot and run over outside a Philadelphia social club does not have the lawful ability to make claims for punitive damages, defense counsel asserts.

Michael Ospina of Williamstown, N.J. filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on July 22 versus Adams & Tabor Real Estate L.P. and the Fraternal Association of Joseph Pilsudski, both of Philadelphia.

Ospina says he was a guest at the Pilsudski Social Club in the early morning hours of June 26, 2016, and exited the premises at 3:30 a.m. (further making the claim that the establishment was open illegally, past 2 a.m. and per state law). When Ospina entered the parking lot, he claims to have been confronted by an unknown individual with a handgun – and when Ospina ran from that individual, the assailant then shot him three times and he was also struck by a speeding vehicle.

“Plaintiff asserts no claim for assault, and plaintiff asserts no claim for battery. Plaintiff asserts that the defendants were negligent in the performance of their duties as business proprietors and as alcohol servers, bouncers, managers and security personnel, and because of the lack of reasonable hiring/training/supervision of necessary and reasonably competent security personnel,” the suit states.

“Plaintiff does not allege nor assert that plaintiff’s injuries were due to intentional conduct, but rather due to the defendants’ negligent acts and other violations (such as creation and/or maintenance of a nuisance, negligently failing to provide adequate security to plaintiff, patrons and members of the public, and negligently serving alcohol past the legal time allowed, as described herein). Plaintiff’s injuries were negligently caused by the defendants. Alternatively, plaintiff’s injuries were carelessly caused by the defendants.”

Ospina says he suffered gunshot wounds to his right forearm, his abdomen and right heel, with damage to his left foot/ankle/shin when he was run over by a vehicle, resulting in three surgeries and being in consideration for a fourth.

In a response to the complaint filed Aug. 15, defense counsel asserted the punitive damages claim should be stricken due to lack of statutory foundation; portions of the parking lot referenced in the complaint are possessed and controlled by an entity other than the answering defendant, Adams & Tabor Real Estate; the answering defendant had no involvement with the operation of the co-defendant’s business as alleged in the complaint; and answering defendant was never notified of the incident described in the complaint, until the time it was served with the complaint.

For counts of negligence and punitive damages, the plaintiff was seeking damages, jointly and separately, in excess of $50,000, together with interest, cost of suit and such other relief as this Court may deem proper, plus a trial by jury in this matter.

The plaintiff is represented by David P. Thiruselvam and Keith Thomas West of the Law Office of David Thiruselvam, in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by John J. Hatzell Jr. of Haddix & Associates, also in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180600190

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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Law Offices of David P. Thiruselvam LLC Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas

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