July 11th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Negligence

Marshall vs. Brown’s IA, LLC, 2019 Pa Super. LEXIS 608.  Opinion by Bowes, J.  Harriet Marshall appeals from the July 10, 2017, judgment in favor of Appellee Brown’s IA, LLC, and alleges that she is entitled to a new trial because the trial court erred in refusing to give an adverse inference instruction based on Appellee’s spoliation of videotape evidence.   We vacate the judgment and remand for a new trial.   Brown’s IA, LLC (“ShopRite”) owns thirteen grocery stores, one being the Island Avenue ShopRite in Philadelphia.   On August 6, 2014, Ms. Marshall slipped on water, fell in the produce aisle of the store, and aggravated a preexisting injury to her hip and back.   ShopRite employees came to her aid and summoned medical assistance, and the manager completed an incident report immediately thereafter.   Approximately two weeks later, ShopRite received a letter or representation from Ms. Marshall’s counsel requesting that ShopRite retain, inter alia, surveillance video of the accident and area in question for six hours prior to the accident and three hours after the accident.   Ms. Marshall’s slip and fall was captured on the store’s video surveillance system.  However, ShopRite decided…


April 17th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Negligence

Wright v. Residence Inn by Marriott 2019 Pa. Super LEXIS 330 (April 9, 2019) Kunselman, J.-Superior Court reversed trial court in refusing to admit plaintiff’s sole medical expert. The objection to the testimony was that plaintiff’s expert was precluded because the case was so specialized. Marriott argued the doctor was not sufficiently qualified in orthopedic surgery since he was simply an internist. The doctor who was plaintiff’s expert practiced for 37 years and rotated through all specialties including orthopedic surgery. He had been on the staff of at least two hospitals. He had been qualified previously. It was prejudice to not let him testify. The case was sent back for trial. 


February 28th, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Negligence

Vu skied over the edge of a trail in order to avoid another skier.  Vu landed in a pile of rocks and suffered injuries.  The edge was allegedly created by the defendant’s snowmaking and snow-grooming practices.  The plaintiff’s action was brought by the PSRA.  The injured party was engaged in the sport of downhill skiing, but denied that the “inherent risk” prong was satisfied.  Skiing off the edge of a trail 3-4 feet above natural terrain is inherent to the sport of downhill skiing.  Plaintiff’s injuries were caused by risks inherent to downhill skiing.  Vu v. Ski Liberty Operating Corp., 20190 U.S. App. LEXIS 4261 (3d Cir. February 12, 2019) Chagares, C.J.


December 12th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Negligence

Koziar v. Rayner, 2018 Pa. Super. 331 LEXIS 1312 (December 7, 2018) Strassburger, J.  This case involved a cleaning lady who fell on property of the owner.  The jury found negligence, but that it was not a factual cause of the harm suffered by the cleaning lady.  The court granted a new trial.  There was never any agreement in this case that the cleaning lady suffered any injuries at all.  The homeowners vigorously challenged causation and presented ample evidence of other conflicting causes of the injury.  Therefore, the jury had the right to reject factual cause.

Drivers Are Addicted to Distracting Activities – Automakers Aren’t Helping

August 13th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Car Accidents, Negligence, Personal Injury

Drivers Are Addicted to Distracting Activities - Automakers Aren't Helping
Emerging technologies are cool and useful, but they can also take drivers down a path of distraction that leads to increased crashes.  Driving while distracted is illegal in 47 states, including Pennsylvania; but people are addicted to their gadgets and technology, and new cars have more of these than ever. As a result, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has been studying how to minimize the driving distractions they say kill 3,500 people and injure 390,000 in U.S. crashes every year. According to the Washington Post the study showed that new vehicle technology involving buttons, touch screens, gesture controls, heads-up displays, and voice commands are often not safe when used while the vehicle is in motion. For example, distractions from Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto shaved crucial seconds from the time that drivers could get their eyes back on the road. The AAA survey found that almost half of drivers said they make calls and 35 percent sent a text or email while driving. In the less than 4.5 seconds it takes to send a text, a vehicle going 55 mph covers more than the length of a football…

Distracted Driving Enforcement Increases in Pennsylvania; Distraction Continues to Be a Problem

June 18th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Car Accidents, Negligence, Personal Injury

Distracted Driving Enforcement Increases in Pennsylvania; Distraction Continues to Be a Problem
Pennsylvania is cracking down on anyone caught driving while distracted, and the number of distracted driving citations is climbing.  Ticketed drivers pay a $50 fine plus $90 for court costs. According to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, citations increased by 52 percent statewide in 2017 and 172 percent since 2013. The heightened emphasis on distracted driving is for good reason:  The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reports 1,188 total deaths on Pennsylvania roads in 2016, with distracted driving a contributing factor in 61 of them. If you or a loved one was injured or if someone has died in a crash involving distracted driving, you may have a claim for compensation for your losses. This includes medical, hospital and rehabilitation bills that are not covered by first party personal injury protection, lost wages and future wage horizon and other economic expenses.  You may also have a claim for noneconomic damages such as loss of life’s pleasures, pain and suffering, and disfigurement. Pennsylvania auto laws are complex.  Pennsylvania is governed by the Financial Responsibility Law.  Cliff Rieders has a great deal of experience in this field of the law and…


June 4th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Negligence

Straw v. Kirk A. Fair and Golon Masonry Restoration, Inc., et al., 2018 Pa. Super. 125 (May 11, 2018) Olson, J.  An appeal was taken from a judgment in favor of Jennifer M. Straw and Thomas P. Straw, individually and as administrators of the Estate of Elijah C. Straw, a deceased minor, and Rowan J. Straw, a minor, by and through his parents and natural guardians, Jennifer M. Straw and Thomas P. Straw, against appellants in the amount of $35,114,122.78.  The court vacated the judgment and remanded.  The basic facts are that Thomas Straw was driving his Pontiac Vibe automobile in Allegheny County.  Several of the Straws were passengers in the car.  As the Straws were driving down the highway, their vehicle experienced a mechanical malfunction that caused Thomas Straw to reduce his speed and bring the vehicle to a controlled stop in the middle of the highway.  Mr. Straw turned on his hazard flashers.  Kirk Fair was driving behind the Straws in a Ford F-250 truck that his employer provided to him.  Mr. Fair did not stop his truck in time and crashed into the Straws’ stationary vehicle traveling…


May 15th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Negligence

Corvin v. Tihansky, 2018 Pa. Super. LEXIS 362 (April 20, 2018) Shogan, J.  Jury answered “no” to the question as to whether there was any harm as a result of a minor rear-end automobile accident.  The court said that its conscience was not shocked by the verdict.  The question was whether the plaintiff had a herniated disc from the automobile accident.   This case is very similar to Maiczyk vs. Oesch, 789 A.2d 917 (Pa. Super. 2001), an en banc decision. In that case, the plaintiff was a passenger in a car that was rear-ended by the defendant’s vehicle. She alleged that the impact caused a herniated disc which required surgery to repair. The defendant’s expert conceded that the plaintiff had sustained some injury, but not a herniated disc. Instead, he opined that the plaintiff had suffered a cervical strain. The jury returned a defense verdict. The Superior Court framed the issue thusly: May a jury find for a defendant despite his or her obvious negligence where it does not believe that the plaintiff’s pain and suffering are compensable? The Superior Court first observed that not all pain and suffering…


May 9th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Negligence

Kibler v. Blue Knob All Seasons Resort, 2018 Pa. Super. LEXIS 357 (April 19, 2018) Ford Elliott, P.J.E.  This case involved a skier who signed an exculpatory clause in a release which included ruts, bumps, growth, etc.  The person fell in a trench while traversing from one slope to another.  The court held the Pennsylvania Skier’s Responsibility Act controlled.  There was no gross negligence, found the court.  The release was not ambiguous.  The trenches created by the all-terrain vehicles traversing the slope would be included within the release and was not gross negligence or recklessness.  The actions were not improper in normal slope maintenance.


April 18th, 2018 by Rieders Travis in Negligence

Collins v. Philadelphia Suburban Development Corporation and Ross’s Home Improvement, Inc., 2018 Pa. 17, No. 1484 EDA 2017 (Pa. Super. January 31, 2018) Stevens, P.J.E.   David Collins appealed from a judgment entered in a slip and fall case.  It was claimed tha the trial court erred in granting motion for summary judgment.  Summary judgment was affirmed. The bottom line is that the fall occurred during a blizzard and a large amount of snow had accumulated over many hours.  There was no dispute that Mr. Collins slipped and fell on ice and snow from an active blizzard.  It was therefore claimed that there was no breach of duty.  The court noted that to recover for a fall on ice or snow covered surface it must be shown:  (1) that the snow and ice had accumulated on the sidewalk in ridges or elevations in such size and character as to unreasonably obstruct travel and constitute a danger to pedestrians traveling; (2) that the property owner had notice, either actual or constructive of the existence of the condition; and (3) that it was a dangerous accumulation of snow and ice which caused…