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Sacchetta & Baldino does not represent insurance
companies or big businesses. The firm’s lawyers
focus their personal injury practice solely on the
representation of individuals injured by the
negligence of others.


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Thomas F. Sacchetta


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Gerald B. Baldino Jr.


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legalintelligencer

$12 Mil. Accident Verdict for Woman Hit by Stolen Car

Gina Passarella, The Legal Intelligencer
March 4, 2011

A Philadelphia jury awarded a woman more than $12 million after her car was hit from behind by a stolen vehicle, pushing her into oncoming traffic where she was then hit by a work van coming the opposite direction.

Just how much of that $12.1 million Sheri Mee will see is unclear considering that, of the three defendants, one settled for $100,000, another settled for an undisclosed amount and the driver of the stolen vehicle most likely won’t be able to pay the judgment, according to an attorney in the case.

In Mee v. Fabrizio , Mee sued the driver of the stolen vehicle, Michael Fabrizio Jr.; the company that owned the work van, Johnson Controls Inc.; and the owner of the stolen vehicle, Thomas Fitzpatrick, because he left his car unlocked and running with the keys in the ignition, according to court documents and Mee’s attorney, Thomas F. Sacchetta of Sacchetta & Baldino in Media, Pa.

Mee settled prior to trial with car owner Fitzpatrick for his motor vehicle insurance policy limits of $100,000 through Hartford Financial Services Group, according to a joint tortfeasor release.

Johnson Controls Inc., which was sued along with its driver Richard Evans and JCI Building Efficiency, settled during the trial, according to the trial worksheet. Sacchetta said he couldn’t disclose the amount of the settlement, but said it was enough to make his client happy despite the fact that it took out the possibility of the company being held jointly and severally liable for a jury verdict against Fabrizio, who Sacchetta said was unlikely to be able to pay out the damages.

Judge Esther R. Sylvester entered a directed verdict against Fabrizio on the issues of negligence and factual cause of injury. On Feb. 24, the jury came back with a verdict on damages against Fabrizio in the amount of $12,103,322.

The biggest portion of that verdict, or $3.49 million, was for future medical expenses. The jury also awarded $1.75 million each for future pain and suffering, embarrassment and humiliation, enjoyment of life and disfigurement. It awarded Mee $1 million in punitive damages. The jurors awarded Mee $400,310 for future lost earnings and $48,000 for past lost earnings. They awarded her more than $66,000 in medical expenses, according to the verdict sheet.

The accident occurred Sept. 12, 2008 in Delaware County, Pa. Mee was driving her Honda Civic southbound on Bishop Avenue on her way to work. Fabrizio had stolen Fitzpatrick’s Ford Taurus from his house in Drexel Hill and was also driving it southbound on Bishop Avenue, according to a pretrial memorandum in the case.

Evans was driving a 2006 Chevrolet Express van in the northbound lane while working for Johnson Controls. Mee had stopped to make a left turn when she was struck from behind by Fabrizio, who fled the scene with a passenger in the Taurus, according to court documents.

Mee was pushed across the median into the northbound lane when she was struck broadside on the passenger side of her vehicle by the van driven by Evans. Mee was extracted from the vehicle and taken to Crozer-Chester Medical Center’s trauma unit. She was later transferred to a rehabilitation center where she remained until Oct. 8, 2008, according to court papers.

An “event data recorder” recovered from the Johnson Controls van showed Evans was driving 48 miles per hour in a 35-mile-per-hour speed zone at the time of the accident. Evans also testified he was on his cell phone at the time of the accident, according to court documents.

Mee, now 38, suffered a broken clavicle, sternum and femur along with three broken vertebrae. She has a rod in her femur and her legs are now different lengths, causing her to limp and need a cane. Mee also suffered brain injuries and has not been able to return to work or independently care for her autistic son or her war veteran father who is blind from a landmine accident, Sacchetta said. She has two children. Aside from physical issues, Mee also has memory and cognition problems, according to her pretrial memorandum.

The demand going into trial was $10 million, according to the memorandum. Johnson Controls said in its pretrial memorandum that the demand against it was $5 million and no offer had been made at that time.The company said in the memorandum that Mee’s car was pushed in front of Evans who “unavoidably struck” it.

“There was nothing Evans could have done about it,” Johnson Controls said in its memorandum filed by attorney Aaron Byrd-Leitner of Margolis Edelstein.

“Any jury — in Philadelphia or otherwise — will understand the dynamics of this accident and will know who is obviously at fault,” Johnson Controls said in the memorandum. “Any games that plaintiff’s attorney intends to play with trying to attach ‘1 percent’ of liability on the part of defendants JCI and Evans is farfetched, obfuscates the truth and borders on an abuse of process when considering that the clear and obvious documented cause of this accident was the negligent and criminal conduct of defendants Fabrizio and [passenger Steven] McCall.”

McCall was dismissed from the case before trial. Fabrizio was not at the trial and did not file any responses, Sacchetta said.

Sacchetta said joint and several liability was key to getting a strong resolution for his client in this case.

“We had no doubt that we thought we could get 1 percent,” he said. “That’s why the joint and several, I think, is so critical here.”

Two of the three defendants were trying to avoid any responsibility, Sacchetta said, and his client just wanted them to pay their fair share.

“That was a line they were trying to tote that there was no way their client had any responsibility, but I think the joint and several in this particular case was appropriate and that’s why the case ended up in a good resolution for everybody,” Sacchetta said.

Sacchetta tried the case along with Bruce H. MacKnight Jr., an attorney with Sacchetta’s firm. Sacchetta said Johnson Controls was at trial until the two sides reached a settlement, but said the jury didn’t know a settlement was reached.

The case started out with 12 jurors, but after one didn’t return, the parties agreed to proceed with 11, he said.

In talking with the jurors after the trial, Sacchetta said it was clear they were concerned with the single mother’s ability to care for her son and father. They deliberated for five hours over the course of two days, he said.

Michael Martin Cohen of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., testified for Mee as a neurological expert. David L. Hopkins of King of Prussia, Pa., offered expert testimony on economics and Lorraine E. Buchanan of Independent Allied

Health Consultants in Blue Bell, Pa., testified to Mee’s life care plan. Neuropsychologist David J. Massari of Clinical Neuropsychology Association in Philadelphia and physical medicine doctor William C. Murphy of Smart Rehabilitation in Media, also testified on Mee’s behalf.

Johnson Controls’ attorney Byrd-Leitner declined to comment.

Reprinted with permission from the “ISSUE DATE” edition of the “PUBLICATION.” © “2011”
ALM Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.

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legalintelligencer

$1.9 Mil. Product Defect Settlement for Woman Attacked bay a Rotweiller

Gina Passarella, The Legal Intelligencer,
March 12, 2010

A woman who suffered arm injuries after being attacked by a Rottweiler in Chester County settled for a combined $1.9 million between the dog owner and the distributor of a tether cord the dog allegedly broke free from right before the attack.

The case Schickram v. Boss Pet Products was in the middle of jury selection in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court March 5 when plaintiffs Evelyn and Larry Schickram settled with Boss Pet Products for $1.6 million. The Schickrams had previously settled with the dog owner, Pamela Leader, for $300,000 — the policy limits of her homeowners’ insurance, according to court papers and the plaintiffs’ attorney, Thomas F. Sacchetta of Sacchetta & Baldino in Media, Pa.

Evelyn and Larry Schickram were driving to a home inspection prior to the purchase of a house on Chestnut Grove Road in Chester County in June 2006. When Evelyn got out of the car, a 118-pound Rottweiler that had allegedly broken free from a dog tie-out cable in the next-door neighbor’s yard attacked her.

According to the Schickrams’ pre-trial memorandum, the attack was so severe “flesh was torn from her body and strewn throughout the area.” Schickram was taken from the scene by a medevac helicopter to a local trauma center.

Ultimately, she made a strong recovery, suffering scarring on her left arm and some chronic pain after surgery in her right arm. She is expected to have continued pain and both sides’ medical experts agreed she reached her maximum expected recovery. She was able to return to her job as an information technology manager, but could no longer lift heavy objects, Sacchetta said.

After settling with the homeowner, who had immediately after the attack turned the dog over to be put down, Schickram sued the tether cord distributor Boss Pet Products, seller PetSmart and the China-based manufacturer Shanghai Kington Trading Co. Sacchetta said PetSmart had an indemnification agreement with Boss so they shared representation — Walter H. “Pete” Swayze III and Brian W. Franklin of Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney.

The plaintiffs had argued prior to settlement that there was a design defect with the tether cord in that the plastic covering along the cable stopped an inch before the clasp, allowing for water and the elements to corrode the cable, Sacchetta said. Sometimes that could be seen by the owner and other times not, he said.

In Schickram , Sacchetta said the dog owner had the tether cord for less than a year and it was sold for dogs up to 250 pounds. The plaintiffs argued the cord should have been made out of stainless steel, rather than galvanized steel, because it wouldn’t have corroded. They also argued the cable should have been covered up to the snap, he said.

The defense argued stainless steel allows for notching, which also could have caused the cable to break. The defendants also looked to put the blame on the dog owner. According to their pretrial memorandum, Boss Pet and PetSmart argued that upon purchase Leader tied the cord around a tree and left it there for a year to be exposed to the elements. They said the cable was visibly worn and rusted in various locations and Leader should have stopped using it, according to the court papers.

The defense also argued the product came with adequate warnings that the cord wasn’t meant for use with “‘mean or vicious dogs'” and that not all pets can be effectively tethered. The defense also raised the argument that the dog may not have been tethered at all at the time of the incident because Leader had two other dogs she admittedly let roam free and who were out at the time of the incident, according to court documents.

Sacchetta said he thought he had a pretty strong case going into trial even if the defendants were looking to put the blame on Leader because, under strict liability rules, alleged negligence of an owner doesn’t negate a design defect.

Sacchetta said he and his client were pleased with the settlement. They were seeking around $2 million going into trial and the offer at that point was about $900,000, he said. Sacchetta admitted he would have had some trouble showing loss of future income at trial but was going to present it in case Schickram lost her job and had trouble finding another because of her remaining limitations. He said she is lucky to have an understanding employer.

Defense attorney Swayze didn’t return a call for comment by press time. •

Reprinted with permission from the “ISSUE DATE” edition of the “PUBLICATION.” © “2010”
ALM Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.

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legalintelligencer

Delco Jury Awards $7.6 Mil. In Car Accident Suit Liability Findings Limit Victim’s Take to $100K

Gina Passarella, The Legal Intelligencer,
June 28, 2007

A Delaware County jury awarded a severely injured man and his wife $7.6 million for injuries he suffered after a car accident in Chadds Ford.

While the award is one of the highest out of Delaware County in recent years, plaintiff Bernard Radecki will only see $100,000 of that award due to findings of liability, according to his attorney, Thomas F. Sacchetta of Sacchetta & Baldino in Media.

Radecki, 61 years old at the time, was driving west down Route 1/Baltimore Pike in October 1999 when Vincent J. Mow – who was driving east on the road – lost control of his vehicle from hydroplaning and ran into Radecki’s car, according to court documents.

Radecki was seriously injured by all accounts, breaking both of his legs and both arms and sustaining internal injuries. He had, according to court documents, at least six surgeries to be able to walk again and go on with normal activities.

About eight months after the surgery, Radecki attempted to go back to his job as a vice president of an energy-related company, but Sacchetta said he was only able to work for a year and a half before having to stop.

Mow’s attorney, George Dale of Kent & McBride in Philadelphia, said his client settled in 2003 for his policy’s limit of $100,000 under a joint tortfeasor release. He did not participate in trial other than to read that release into the record before the jury was selected, Dale said.

“We knew it was a bad case and Mr. Radecki was a really, really nice man,” Dale said.

After that, Sacchetta’s case focused on design and maintenance liability on behalf of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

“I expected a verdict against Mow, so I was trying to put some responsibility on PennDOT,” Sacchetta said.

He argued that the design and maintenance of the roadway allowed drains to clog and water to accumulate on the road. That, Sacchetta said, was what caused Mow to hydroplane and lose control of his car. He said he had also argued that Mow was driving too fast for conditions.

PennDOT, through Deputy Attorney General Allan Ells, argued that there was nothing improper about the design of the road. The department said the road was sloped in an appropriate way to allow for water to flow off, and it said there was no evidence of any maintenance problems that would have caused the drains to clog, according to court documents.

If PennDOT were found liable, any damages against it would have been limited to a statutory cap of $250,000, Sacchetta said.

There are reservations for attorneys thinking about taking these types of cases, he said, adding that there was no incentive for PennDOT to settle because its exposure was already limited. There were no offers from PennDOT prior to trial, Sacchetta said.

The trial was held before Delaware County Common Pleas Judge Charles B. Burr II from June 18 through June 21.

The eight-member jury deliberated on Thursday, June 21, for about two and a half hours, Sacchetta said. The jury found that Mow was 100 percent liable and did not find any negligence on the part of PennDOT. Radecki was awarded $6.6 million in compensable damages and his wife, Frances, was awarded $1 million for loss of consortium, according to court documents.

While Sacchetta said he wasn’t surprised that the jury awarded over $7.6 million, he said he was happy to see such a high amount, given that Delaware County is often looked at as “fairly conservative.”

“My client made a tremendous witness,” he said.

Sacchetta said he would probably file post-trial motions regarding PennDOT’s responsibility in the case.

Kevin Harley, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, said the office was pleased with the verdict and that there was no negligence attributed to PennDOT.

Expert witnesses for the plaintiffs were engineer Joseph A. Thompson Jr. and orthopedic surgeon Charles D. Hummer, Sacchetta said. PennDOT used engineer Joseph P. Tarris as an expert witness, he said.

Reprinted with permission from the “ISSUE DATE” edition of the “PUBLICATION.” © “2007”
ALM Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.

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legalintelligencer

Case Over Electric Shock to Carpenter Settles for $2.5 Mil.

P.J. D’Annunzio, The Legal Intelligencer,
July 14, 2014

The case of a carpenter who was injured after sustaining an electric shock on the job—and who was also alleged to have developed ALS as a result of the shock—has been settled with property owners and electricians for $2.5 million.

The plaintiff in Gallagher v. Barrett & Williams Electric, a case in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, settled with property owner defendants Keystone Devon Square Associates, B&R Devon Owner and Keystone Property Group as well as with the electrical contracting defendant Barrett & Williams Electric prior to trial.

Brenda A. Gallagher, the widow of Cornelius A. Gallagher, was represented by Thomas F. Sacchetta and Bruce H. MacKnight of Media, Pa.-based Sacchetta & Baldino. She claimed that an electric shock from an unmarked live wire connected to a ceiling on which Cornelius Gallagher was working caused him to fall to the floor below, resulting in severe shoulder injuries. The plaintiff further alleged that Gallagher developed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) as a result of the shock.

Sacchetta told The Legal that Gallagher died as a result of ALS before the conclusion of the case.
According to the plaintiff’s pretrial memorandum, on May 28, 2009, Gallagher was working on replacing a ceiling grid in a property owned by Keystone. While doing so, court papers said, Gallagher attempted to remove a 277-volt, metal-encased wire leading to ceiling lights. Gallagher, who allegedly did not know the wire was energized, sustained an electric shock and fell three feet, landing on the concrete floor and an empty tool bucket.

Shortly after the shoulder injury occurred, Sacchetta said, Gallagher began to have issues with his speech.

Sacchetta said, “Over the next several months he gets concerned, he seeks out his family doctor, goes to a neurologist, and found out he had ALS.”

Sacchetta added he argued that the electrical current caused Gallagher’s ALS or exacerbated a predisposition toward the disease.

“Our expert had indicated that the literature supports that [electric shock] … could be a precipitating event to some neurological disease, like ALS,” Sacchetta said.
The attorney for Keystone, Glenn M. Campbell of Blue Bell, Pa.-based William J. Ferren & Associates, declined to comment. Barrett & Williams was represented by Warren E. Voter of Sweeney & Sheehan in Philadelphia, who did not return a call seeking comment.

According to the property owners’ pretrial memorandum, “At no point in his deposition did Mr. Gallagher testify that he believed that the owners or property manager for the site had a responsibility to make the work area safe, whether with regard to electricity or otherwise.”

Reprinted with permission from the “ISSUE DATE” edition of the “PUBLICATION.” © “2014”
ALM Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.

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legalintelligencer

Apartments To Pay For Resident’s Icy Fall

Lizzy McLellan, The Legal Intelligencer
December 23, 2014

A resident of a Philadelphia apartment complex has been awarded damages in a slip-and-fall case.

Angelit Barnes fell on the sidewalk in front of her apartment in February 2011, because it was covered with ice, the plaintiff’s pretrial memorandum said. When she fell, she suffered a severe fracture and dislocation of her right ankle that caused the bone to tear through the skin.

A Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas jury awarded a gross verdict of $847,362 for past medical expenses, past lost earnings, pain and suffering. The award was molded to $575,000 pursuant to a high-low agreement, against Campus Apartments Inc. and Garden Court South Associates.

Barnes slipped and fell around 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 1, 2011, the plaintiff’s memo said, while exiting her building. She had assumed the sidewalks in front of her building had been treated, it said.
According to the plaintiff’s memo, it was the common practice to treat walkways early in the morning to make them safe for pedestrians, and treatment of the sidewalks apparently occurred sometime between 7:30 and 8 a.m. that day.

According to the defendants’ pretrial memo, the defendants pretreated surfaces between noon and 5 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2011, and treated them again between 8 a.m. and noon on Feb. 1.
“Regardless, even if no prophylactic pretreatment efforts had been undertaken, as a matter of law defendants face no liability for the slip-and-fall incident, as defendants began reasonable measures to treat the property to remove ice by 8 a.m. on the morning of the incident, well within the time mandated by the applicable ordinance,” the defendants’ memo said.

As a result of her injury, Barnes had to get surgery, including the placement of pins and screws into her bone, the plaintiff’s memo said, and she wore a cast for three months. During rehabilitation of her ankle, the memo said, she began to develop left knee pain and an altered gait.

As of her last visit with her orthopedic surgeon, Barnes said she was still experiencing pain and discomfort in her ankle. According to the memo, she is unable to stand and walk more than three hours per day, and her surgeon said she will continue to need annual medical visits and anti-inflammatory medication as a result of the injury.

The defendants’ memo said Barnes has made an excellent recovery with only mild limitations affecting daily life.

The plaintiff’s settlement demand was $750,000, according to the defendants’ memo, and the defendants offered a $50,000 settlement, which Barnes rejected.

The bulk of the jury’s award, $762,200, was for pain and suffering. Awards for medical expenses and lost earnings were $47,362 and $37,800 respectively.

Defense counsel Mitchell S. Berger declined to comment.

A resident of a Philadelphia apartment complex has been awarded damages in a slip-and-fall case.

Reprinted with permission from the “ISSUE DATE” edition of the “PUBLICATION.” © “2014”
ALM Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.

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legalintelligencer

Carpenter Secures Settlement in Forklift Incident

Lizzy McLellan, The Legal Intelligencer
March 31, 2015

A union carpenter who was injured on the job reached settlement with the heating and air conditioning subcontractor whose employee allegedly struck the plaintiff with a forklift.

Nasco Heating agreed to pay $850,000 to Karl and Kathy Lange in a settlement reached one week before trial was set to commence in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.
Karl Lange, then age 56, was working as a carpenter at a job site in Plymouth Meeting Mall on Dec. 23, 2008, when he was injured, the plaintiffs’ pretrial memorandum said.

While Lange was working, the memo said, he heard a forklift start nearby, and saw Sam Culmone, a sheet metal worker for Nasco, sitting on the forklift. According to both the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ memoranda, Lange offered to run the forklift for Culmone, but he declined the offer.

According to the plaintiffs’ memo, Lange returned to his work, then heard the forklift approaching. He turned and saw the lift traveling in reverse, the memo said. It then struck Lange and pinned him to a wall. Culmone indicated that he had accidentally put the lift in reverse, the memo said.
According to the defense settlement memorandum, Lange testified that he did not hear a backup warning signal from the forklift, but no evidence was presented to show the audio warning system on the forklift was malfunctioning.

The defense memo said Lange completed the rest of his shift that day without medical assistance and did not report the incident to his employer until Dec. 29.
Culmone denied hitting Lange with the forklift, the defense said.
The incident caused Lange’s abdominal and lower body crush injuries, the plaintiffs’ memo said, as well as spinal injuries. The lower body injuries impaired Lange’s gait and caused bowel and bladder dysfunction and incontinence, the memo said.

According to the plaintiffs, a doctor assessing Lange said he still has trouble walking, even with a cane. The doctor said the bowel incontinence could require surgery, and the bladder incontinence could require catheter placement or self-catheterization, the memo said.

“Dr. Citara has opined that plaintiff is permanently disabled from the physical and psychological standpoint as a direct result of the work injury on Dec. 23, 2008,” the plaintiffs’ memo said.
In its settlement memo, the defense disputed the allegation that the forklift incident caused permanent disability and bowel and bladder incontinence.

“Any disability plaintiff may now be suffering is as a result of his long-standing degenerative disc disease,” the defense memo said.

According to the plaintiffs’ memo, Lange earned about $84,500 annually in the three years before the incident, and received fringe benefits. A rehabilitation counselor said Lange became unemployable because of his injuries in addition to his limited education and his age, the memo said. An economic expert calculated economic losses of $1.3 million, it said.
Prior to settlement, the plaintiffs’ demand was $4 million, and the defense offer was $285,000.

The settlement followed a three-hour settlement conference with Judge Thomas M. DelRicci. Lange also reached an agreement with his workers’ compensation carrier to reduce its lien of approximately $285,000 to $110,000, plaintiffs attorney Gerald B. Baldino Jr. said. The $110,000 came out of the Nasco settlement, and the remainder went to Lange, Baldino said.

The attorney for the defense, Gary S. Williams, declined to comment.

Reprinted with permission from the “ISSUE DATE” edition of the “PUBLICATION.” © “2015”
ALM Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.

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Passenger Injured In Truck Crash Receives $1.6M in Bench Trial

Lizzy McLellan, The Legal Intelligencer
July 21, 2016

An elderly woman injured when her vehicle was hit from behind by a U-Haul truck was awarded $1.56 million after a one-day bench trial in Philadelphia before Judge Ellen Ceisler.

On Sept. 30, 2012, Lillian Parola was a rear passenger in a car on Easton Road in Warrington, near the intersection of Titus Avenue, when a vehicle driven by Steven Inlander collided with the rear of her stopped vehicle, according to the plaintiff’s pretrial memorandum. Inlander was operating a vehicle rented that day by his mother, Jill Inlander, the defense pretrial memo said.

The plaintiff’s memo said Parola suffered “life-altering injuries.” She was cut from the vehicle with the jaws of life and taken to Abington Memorial Hospital, where she remained over a month.

Parola sustained fractures to her jaw, ribs, right femoral neck and pelvis, as well as a C7 spinal fracture, left hip dislocation and lung contusion with right hemothorax, the memo said. She has required a permanent caretaker since the crash, walks with a walker, and has memory issues, in addition to constant pain, the memo said.

The memo said Parola has incurred more than $810,000 in medical expenses and has ongoing home care costs of $147 per day.

Steven Inlander’s insurance carrier tendered the $50,000 policy limit, and U-Haul tendered its $15,000 policy limit pertaining to Inlander. Jill Inlander’s carrier denied that its policy applied. Parola demanded $5 million, the memos said.

The judgment entered June 20 included $1 million for noneconomic damages, $348,000 for past medical expenses and $214,620 for future medical expenses.

Plaintiffs counsel Thomas F. Sacchetta said the verdict was a fair number. Defense counsel John A. Livingood Jr. did not return a call for comment.

Steven Inlander’s insurance carrier tendered the $50,000 policy limit, and U-Haul tendered its $15,000 policy limit pertaining to Inlander. Jill Inlander’s carrier denied that its policy applied. Parola demanded $5 million, the memos said.

The judgment entered June 20 included $1 million for noneconomic damages, $348,000 for past medical expenses and $214,620 for future medical expenses.

Plaintiffs counsel Thomas F. Sacchetta said the verdict was a fair number. Defense counsel John A. Livingood Jr. did not return a call for comment.

Reprinted with permission from the “ISSUE DATE” edition of the “PUBLICATION.” © “2016”
ALM Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.

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Girl Scout Secures $2.8M Settlement After Fall From Rock

Max Mitchell, The Legal Intelligencer
July 21, 2016

A Girl Scout who allegedly sustained a traumatic brain injury after falling off a rock formation during an outing has settled for nearly $3 million with the Susquehanna County camp where the fall occurred.
According to attorney Thomas F. Sacchetta, the parents of Ashley Bagosy settled their claims with Camp Archbald for $2.8 million. The settlement was made following jury selection Jan. 9. The case, Bagosy v. Camp Archbald, had been filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

“It was an unfortunate situation for Ashley, who was a minor, and we’re pleased we were able to have her get a substantial amount to sustain her for the future,” Sacchetta said.

According to a pretrial memo filed by Stephen and Marsha Bagosy, who are Ashley Bagosy’s parents, on April 21, 2012, their daughter was a member of a Girl Scouts troop on a trip to Camp Archbald in Kingsley, Pa. She was on the trip with several other girls, and several adults were tasked with supervising the children, the pretrial memo said.

According to the memo, Ashley Bagosy, who was 11 years old at the time, and several other Girl Scouts went outside their camp unsupervised. During the unsupervised outing, Bagosy allegedly fell off a rock formation and then rolled about 20 feet, according to the plaintiffs’ memo. The plaintiffs further contended that during the fall, Bagosy struck her head, back, neck and extremities.

According to the memo, the girls Bagosy was with brought her back to the cabin, where Bagosy remained for some time. After adults who were supervising the children realized that Bagosy was “disheveled, confused and not responding properly,” she was driven by one of the adults to a hospital, where she was examined and released.

According to the plaintiffs’ pretrial memo, Bagosy sustained a traumatic brain injury in the fall, which led to memory, cognition, speech and behavioral problems.

The plaintiffs alleged in their complaint that the camp was negligent for failing to control the campers, and that it negligently hired, managed and controlled its employees. The plaintiffs additionally alleged in the complaint that the camp failed to have adequate safety protocols in place.

The plaintiffs noted that Bagosy was treated at numerous medical facilities, including the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children and Johns Hopkins Medical Center, and contended that Bagosy had been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.

Although four organizations related to the Girl Scouts were initially sued, the entities were discontinued from the case in May pursuant to a stipulation that they had no involvement with either the camp or the incident.

The camp, in its pretrial memo, argued that the girls had been assisting with the cleanup of the camp, and that Bagosy had been jumping from one large rock to another when she fell. The camp further argued that the area was not dangerous.

“Camp Archbald is located in the Endless Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania and is a natural area that contains rocks, trees and changes in elevation,” the camp’s memo said. “There was nothing dangerous or hazardous about the location where the incident occurred.”

The damages that Bagosy sustained, the plaintiffs argued in their memo, were both economic and non-economic, and included medical expenses. The plaintiffs additionally argued that Bagosy’s future earning capacity would be limited due to the fall, and that her injuries may be permanent.

Bagosy, the plaintiffs also contended in their memo, was “high-achieving” before the accident. The plaintiffs also noted that she swam competitively, and had competed in the Junior Olympics.

Max Mitchell can be contacted at 215-557-2354 or mmitchell@alm.com. Follow him on Twitter@MMitchellTLI

Reprinted with permission from the “ISSUE DATE” edition of the “PUBLICATION.” © “2016”
ALM Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.

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