Pennsylvania Record

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

SEPTA questions why woman grouped three separate accidents into one lawsuit


By William Sassani | Feb 6, 2019

PHILADELPHIA — Attorneys representing the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit of a woman who claims she was injured three separate times.

SEPTA on Jan. 19 filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania a memorandum to dismiss a personal injury lawsuit filed by Bella Zuzel.

In the nine-page memorandum, SEPTA argues the complaint made by Zuzel does not meet the legal standard because it has been misjoined. 

This, they argue, violates Federal Rule Civil Procedure 20, which states a person, property, or a vessel and cargo can be joined into a one civil action if “any right to relief is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences,” and that also “any question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action.” 

SEPTA cites Garcia v. Brock-Weinstein as a recent example of misjoinder that had been brought before the court.

SEPTA argues that the claims against it, as well as Cardinal Health and Medline, are not from one single incident. Instead, they stem from three separate incidents that are “distinct and bear no factual relationship to one another.” Also, it claims, the three separate incidents are not connected to one another and “do not share a common question of law or fact.”

Filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on Nov. 18, Zuzel's lawsuit is based on three separate incidents she stated had occurred. The first was on Nov. 25, 2016, at the Cecil B. Moore station. In that incident, she claims she was injured when a wheel of her Rollator device became stuck in a gap between the SEPTA train car and the station platform. This allegedly resulted in her falling and injuring her right knee.

The second incident she cited occurred on Jan. 16, 2018, when she fell on the sidewalk while walking down Ludlow Street with a Rollator. In that incident, she claims she injured her left knee. 

The third injury in the claim occurred on April 15, 2018, on a SEPTA bus. After getting on the bus, Zuzel alleges she fell because the bus “unreasonably moved before she had a reasonable opportunity to secure herself and her belongings.”

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Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

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