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Distracted Driving and Punitive Damages

December 30, 2019
Stephen Bruderle
Posted in: Automobile & Trucking

A Pennsylvania Trial Court in Lawrence County entered an Order on October 7, 2019 overruling the Defendant’s Preliminary Objections which sought to strike Plaintiff’s claims for recklessness and/or reckless conduct where the Defendant driver was using a cell phone at the time of the relevant motor vehicle accident. In Daresse Henderson v. Elliot Palmer, Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas No. 10035 of 2019, Ms. Henderson alleged that she was stopped at a traffic light on January 19, 2017 when her vehicle was rear-ended by the vehicle operated by Defendant Palmer. The Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint, which was at issue in the Preliminary Objections, alleged that the Plaintiff was texting and/or using his cell phone at the time of the impact. The Henderson Court was guided by case law in other jurisdictions which holds that allegations that a driver has been distracted by a cell phone or an electronic device is sufficient to withstand objections at the pleadings stage. The Henderson Court allowed the defense to raise this issue again at the end of discovery if appropriate.

If you have any questions about this you can contact Steve Bruderle at 215-931-5852 or by e-mail at sbruderle@margolisedelstein.com.