Cyclist's suit against SEPTA for failing to maintain safe bike paths looks to be dismissed by transport entity

By Nicholas Malfitano | Nov 30, 2018

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)  

PHILADELPHIA – A local woman maintains that the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) and its negligence in maintaining rails and street surfaces created an unsafe riding condition for cyclists and led to her injurious bike accident, while SEPTA sought dismissal of the formerly-unverified suit.

Eleni Vlachos of Philadelphia filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Aug. 27 versus SEPTA, also of Philadelphia.

“SEPTA owned, operated, managed, controlled, supervised the maintenance of, maintained and had the duty to keep in good, safe and flat condition and repair the rails and street surface of South Swanson Street north of its intersection with Snyder Avenue, and adjacent to Synder Plaza,” the suit states.

“Defendant had the duty to maintain the rails, street surface outside and adjacent to the rails extending 18” and the ground surface in between the rails so as not to create an unsafe conditions of the road for bicycle riders to encounter and ride upon, leave an unsafe condition unguarded or fail to warn users of the road, bike lane, of an unsafe condition of the road.”

On May 15, Vlachos was riding her bicycle on Swanson Street at the above location when Plaintiff’s bicycle wheel came into contact with the unsafe condition of the ground surface and rail, which caused the plaintiff to crash to the ground and suffer a knee injury.

Subsequently, Vlachos suffered a fractured kneecap, substantial impairment of bodily function and disfigurement in her knee, temporary disability, pain and suffering.

Preliminary objections were filed on Sept. 14 by SEPTA’s counsel, arguing that since the complaint was verified by plaintiff counsel and not the plaintiff herself, the litigation should be dismissed.

On Oct. 12, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Linda Carpenter ordered that SEPTA’s preliminary objections were sustained, and that the plaintiff was to file a praecipe for a proper verification within 20 days or risk dismissal of the action. That requested documentation was filed on Oct. 24.

For negligence, the plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of the jurisdictional arbitration limits, plus interest and costs.

The plaintiff is represented by Stuart I. Leon in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Christina M. Spalding-Daniels of SEPTA’s Legal Department, also in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180802610

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nick.malfitano@therecordinc.com

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