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Mintzer Sarowitz Zeris Ledva & Meyers, LLP Partner Robert Shaw Secures Defense Verdict for Roadway Contractor

Oct 18, 2018 - About the Firm by

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (October 2018) – Attorney Robert W. Shaw, III, Esquire, of Mintzer Sarowitz, Zeris, Ledva & Meyers’ Philadelphia office, recently obtained a defense verdict in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in favor of a contractor in a case in which Plaintiff alleged that she suffered from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and Post Concussion Syndrome as a result of driving into a road excavation.  Plaintiff further alleged that she sustained loss of future earnings because she would not be able to work as a nurse – with loss of future earnings and future medical bills alleged totaling approximately 2.7 million dollars.

The contractor had the two middle lanes (on a four lane, two direction roadway) coned off to keep vehicles out of the area while they put blacktop down in isolated areas within that zone. Plaintiff was attempting to make a left turn into a church on the opposite side and she entered  through the cones and drove into an open ditch. Plaintiff alleged that she saw other vehicles turn through to make that same turn and also that all the contractor needed to do was put a barrel/small temporary barrier right next to the ditch, or put orange cones inside the ditch, and the accident would not have occurred. Mr. Shaw cross-examined  Plaintiff’s liability expert Engineer, John Posusney, who ultimately told Mr. Shaw that he would have made the same turn as Plaintiff into the construction zone despite the warnings.

Mr. Shaw argued that the contractor did all that was required by placing the cones and signs out to direct the flow of traffic to the outside lanes only. He also contended that the Plaintiff’s own negligence in turning into the work zone was the sole cause of the accident. A church pastor testified that he saw construction workers putting cones in the ditch after the accident occurred.  The rebuttal defense was that cones were placed in the ditch after the accident because once Plaintiff hit the ditch there would be emergency personnel walking around the work area.  Mr. Shaw had the pastor confirm that Plaintiff’s bible study started at 10:00 a.m. and the Complaint alleged that the accident occurred at 10:11 a.m. He argued to the Jury that Plaintiff was late for her bible study and she did not want to wait in traffic to go to the next traffic light and turn around to avoid turning through the work area. Defendant also contended that Plaintiff never stopped to make the turn, but instead she carelessly veered into the work area while the church driveway was still further ahead, and evidence of this was that she drove through the ditch (as opposed to stopping on it).  

The Jury returned with a defense verdict for the contractor.