John Deere: Philadelphia lawsuit over crushed leg is an example of forum-shopping

By Nicholas Malfitano | Oct 19, 2018


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PHILADELPHIA – The estate representative of a man allegedly crushed by a John Deere-brand front end loader is seeking legal damages as compensation for the leg and spinal injuries he suffered in that accident.

Beth Blue of West Chester (individually and as executrix of the Estate of Noel Angelucci, of Sewell, N.J.) filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Aug. 28 versus Deere & Company, United Rentals and JESCO, Inc.

“On July 20, 2016, plaintiff was in the course and scope of his employment with Ricco Construction Corp., examining a John Deere Skid Steer 250, serial number T00250A935610. The subject Skid Steer was located at 1779 Delsea Drive, Deptford, N.J., where Ricco Construction Corp. stored their equipment. Plaintiff, while operating the John Deere Skid Steer 250, he was caused to suffer severe injuries, when the Skid Steer crushed him as a result of the defect of the machine,” the complaint reads.

“As a result of the defect of the machine, plaintiff sustained serious and debilitating injuries, including but not limited to, left leg injuries, fractures and ligament tears, right leg and ankle injuries, back/spinal injuries, scarring and disfigurement. Furthermore, as a result of the defect of the machine, plaintiff was caused to lose earnings.”

According to the plaintiff, the defendants failed to properly equip the machine with appropriate safety devices, failed to offer devices or products so as to make the machine safe and allowed its machine to be sold in a defective condition, in addition to other claims.

On Sept. 14, Deere & Company filed preliminary objections as to both improper venue and insufficient specificity, as it is not based or conducts its principal business in Philadelphia or Pennsylvania and further, the plaintiff filed an identical action in New Jersey, where other defendants in the case are in fact based (and what the defense labeled as “forum-shopping”). Further, the Deere defendants believe the case is insufficiently-pled, not naming the equipment’s specific defect(s) and instead only offering conclusory allegations.

Those objections were supplemented by others from the JESCO defendants filed on Oct. 4, also alleging that the chosen venue of a Philadelphia court is improper and that the case should be dismissed for insufficient pleading under the law.

For counts of negligence, products liability and breach of warranty, the plaintiff is seeking damages, jointly and severally, in excess of $50,000 and in excess of the Court’s arbitrational limit.

The plaintiff is represented by Thomas F. Sacchetta of Sacchetta & Baldino, in Media.

The defendants are represented by Anthony J. Rash and Benjamin F. Colburn of Dickie McCamey & Chilcote in Pittsburgh, Inna Shingin and Frederick E. Blakelock of Reilly McDevitt & Henrich in Cherry Hill, N.J. and Dean F. Murtaugh and James C. Lehman of German Gallagher & Murtaugh, in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180701856

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

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Organizations in this Story

Deere & Company Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas United Rentals

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