Pennsylvania Record

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Further proceedings in injured bicyclist's suit against SEPTA, Conrail and City of Philadelphia coming later this year

State Court

By Nicholas Malfitano | Oct 1, 2019

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)

PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia plaintiff’s lawsuit against the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Conrail and the City of Philadelphia for injuries she suffered in a bicycle accident will procced with pre-trial events this winter, before a trial date early next year.

A lawsuit filed by plaintiff Eleni Vlachos against a number of local municipal and rail entities will see a settlement conference on Dec. 12 and a pre-trial conference on Feb. 3, before heading to inside of a Philadelphia courtroom on March 2.

Vlachos, of Philadelphia, first filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Aug. 27, 2018 versus SEPTA, also of Philadelphia. The City of Philadelphia and Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) of Jacksonville, Fla. were later added as defendants to the lawsuit.

“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 Snyder Plaza,” the suit stated.

“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, 2018, 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, the suit said.

Subsequently, Vlachos allegedly 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, 2018 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, 2018, 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, plus Maureen Rowan and Raymond J. Hunter of Schnader Harrison Segal Lewis, all also in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180802610

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

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