Pennsylvania Record

Monday, September 23, 2019

Settlement for man who accused four companies of poisoning him with methyl bromide pesticides

State Court

By Nicholas Malfitano | Sep 4, 2019


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PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia man who accused a quartet of companies of poisoning him with methyl bromide pesticides in 2015 has settled his case with the defendants.

On July 19, counsel for plaintiff Jonathan Olszewski filed a praecipe requesting the litigation be marked as settled, discontinued and ended upon payment of costs. Terms of the settlement were not revealed.

Olszewski initially filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Feb. 15, 2017, versus Adams Expediting, Inc. of Philadelphia, Royal Fumigation, Inc. and Royal Pest Control, Inc. both of New Castle, Del., and Royal Pest Management of PA, Inc., in Kemblesville.

“Plaintiff came into contact with the methyl bromide containing pesticides complained about herein at all three of the Adams Expediting, Inc. locations. During the month of March of 2015, plaintiff worked a significant amount of hours at the Delaware and New Jersey locations and was working in close proximity to the methyl bromide-containing pesticides. Furthermore, during the several months prior to March of 2015, plaintiff had worked strenuous amounts of hours at the Delaware and New Jersey locations, which often consisted of 15-hour shifts with no days off,” the complaint detailed.

“On or about March 9, 2015, after having worked approximately 23 days straight without a day off and numerous hours per day, plaintiff began experiencing severe blurry vision, and an unsteady gait. Upon returning home, he essentially collapsed and was taken to the emergency room and examined and diagnosed with diabetes,” the complaint adds.

The plaintiff attempted to work through the conditions, but would later go on to suffer a psychotic breakdown in June 2015, requiring hospitalization at Pennsylvania Hospital’s in-patient psychiatric and treated with medication.

The plaintiff said the defendants’ negligence caused him injuries such as extreme anxiety, sleepiness, hallucinations, paranoia and psychotic delusions, eye damage, ataxia, neuropathy and severe toxic metabolic encephalopathy, in addition to depression, psychosis, breakdowns and permanent disability.

On April 12, 2017, now-former defense counsel Jared B. Shafer filed a motion of preliminary objections to dismiss Jonathan Olszewski’s aforementioned claims against Adams Expediting, Inc., on the premises that the claims were precluded by workers’ compensation law in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and were not pled with substantive evidence.

“Under Pennsylvania law, a plaintiff’s injuries are compensable exclusively under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. As such, employees are precluded from suing their employers for work-related injuries,” Shafer said.

“Further, when the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act applies to a work place injury claim, Pennsylvania courts lack subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate any tort claim against the employer at issue pertaining to the cause of that injury.”

Prior to settlement and for counts of strict product liability – design defect, negligence, negligent design, fraud, misrepresentation and suppression, constructive fraud, breach of express and implied warranties and workplace safety intentional tort, the plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, including compensatory, punitive and delay damages plus costs.

The plaintiff was represented by Nicholas L. Palazzo of DeFino Law Associates, in Philadelphia.

The defendant was represented by Lisa M. Grandner and Ernest J. Bernabei III of Pillinger Miller Tarallo, plus Walter H. Swayze III of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, all also in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170203552

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

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Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas

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