In July of 2016, Kenneth J. Hardin II, Esq., obtained a directed verdict for his client in a personal injury action sounding in negligence, strict liability, and loss of consortium following a five-day jury trial The case arose out of a contract for the construction of a large pole barn wherein Mr. Hardin’s client was hired as the general contractor on the construction project. Thereafter, Mr. Hardin’s client hired a subcontractor, who employed and supplied its own workers to the job site. Plaintiff, an employee of the subcontractor, initiated a lawsuit against Mr. Hardin’s client after sustaining serious injuries caused by the collapse of an improperly installed roof on the job site. At the close of Plaintiff’s case, Mr. Hardin made an oral Motion for Compulsory Nonsuit on the basis that the Plaintiff had failed to prove the existence of a duty upon which to base its claims and hold his client liable for any injuries sustained. In granting Mr. Hardin’s oral motion, the trial court relied on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision of Leonard v. Commonwealth, 771 A.2d 1238 (Pa. 2011), which previously established that a general contractor cannot be held liable to a subcontractor’s employees where he did not exercise actual control over the subcontractor or independent contractor’s work. The Supreme Court’s establishment of this rule was heavily based on public policy, recognizing that (1) contractual duties to perform work are highly delegable from a general contractor to a subcontractor; and (2) subcontractors rather than general contractors maintain particular knowledge associated with worksite hazards and can more appropriately implement proper safety precautions for their employees. Id. The trial court ultimately agreed with Mr. Hardin that absent a showing of sufficient facts to illustrate extraordinary circumstances or a general contractor’s affirmative attempts to take control of the subject job site, he does not otherwise owe a duty to a subcontractor’s employees. In accordance with the same, the court granted a directed verdict thereby removing Mr. Hardin’s client from the lawsuit.
In early 2013, 46-year old female Plaintiff was rearended while stopped at an intersection, in York, Pennsylvania. She had been waiting at a stop sign when her minivan was struck from behind by a car.
She claimed that she suffered neck injuries. Plaintiff was taken by ambulance to an emergency room, where she was examined and released. Plaintiff sued the driver, alleging that she was negligent in the operation of a vehicle. Defendant stipulated to negligence, and the case was tried on the issues of causation and damages. Days later Plaintiff, complaining of pain to her neck and back, presented to an orthopedic surgeon who put her on a course of physical therapy including massage treatment and exercise. She underwent MRIs and EMGs which allegedly showed herniation of a cervical disc, as well as related injuries and an aggravation of a pre-existing lumbar condition. She was further diagnosed with strains of the neck and low back. In August, Plaintiff had a microscopic anterior cervical discectomy and fusion and repair of the dural tear. She was discharged two days later. Other than follow up visits with her surgeon, no further treatment was administered. Plaintiff’s surgeon causally related her injuries and treatment to the accident. The physician described her prognosis as guarded, and opined that she has permanent residual symptoms that will wax and wane depending on her activity level and weather changes. The surgeon recommended future treatment, including medications, physical therapy, and epidural injections of a steroid-based painkiller. Plaintiff asserted that her constant neck pain has rendered her completely disabled, and she lives a sedentary life. She sought damages for past and future pain and suffering, and her husband sought damages for loss of consortium. Defense counsel noted that Plaintiff had been in a December 2009 car accident, which caused a neck injury, and a December 2011 collision, which resulted in physical therapy and lumbar surgery. Counsel maintained that Plaintiff’s complaints from the accident with Defendant were subjective. According to a defense expert in neurology, who examined Plaintiff, there was no evidence that she had any change in localization of her symptoms or had any new pain, and there was no evidence that she had any new injury to her spine. The expert concluded that the accident did not cause any new pain or any new spinal injury. After a three-day trial, the jury found that Defendant’s negligence was not a factual cause of injury to Plaintiff, and awarded a defense verdict. The demand was for the policy limit of $100,000.
The downstream property owners alleged that the church, along with other defendants, failed to properly design, build, and maintain their respective stormwater management systems, leading to erosion and sedimentation to the plaintiffs’ creek and reservoir caused by excess runoff. The plaintiffs’ expert failed to provide any calculations regarding the rate and amount of excess water from the church’s property. The defense expert for the church opined that the runoff terminated at the embankment of an abandoned railway, and there was no direct evidence that excess runoff deriving from the church’s property ended up at the plaintiffs’ property. After a lengthy hearing, the trial court judge issued a reasoned opinion finding that the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate that the alleged deficiencies in the stormwater management systems had caused or contributed to an increased water flow or sedimentation upon the plaintiffs’ property. Diligent representation, attention to detail, and timely engagement of the necessary experts led to this favorable result for our client.
In December of 2021, the Circuit Court of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit of Florida entered an order granting summary judgment on behalf of the firm’s insurance carrier client in a Hurricane Irma loss.
The insureds had submitted a claim to the insurer on September 12, 2017, which the carrier had investigated, accepted coverage, and paid in October 2017. The insureds later provided the insurance company with an engineering report and estimate on September 17, 2020, and demanded mediation. The firm filed and was granted a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the insureds failed to file a supplemental or re-opened claim within the required three years under Fla. Stat. §627.70132. The case relied primarily on the Fourth District Court of Appeals decision entitled Goldberg v. Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company, 302 So. 3d 919 (4th DCA 2020).
In October 2023, Kenneth J. Hardin II, Esq and Jacob A. Deane Esq , represented our clients a local pizza shop and the landlords of the building, where the shop operated. They secured a directed verdict in their favor in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
The case revolved around an alleged accident wherein a delivery driver claimed that an overhead metal security gate on the property fell on his head during a produce delivery, resulting in injury.
During the trial, when examining the Plaintiff’s mechanical engineer, we objected to the engineer’s testimony, contending that his inability to opine on the precise cause of the gate’s fall, to a reasonable degree of mechanical certainty, warranted preclusion from testifying on causation. Following the court’s approval of our objection and the subsequent exclusion of the expert’s testimony, we promptly moved for a non-suit, highlighting that the Plaintiff was now unable to present evidence establishing causation.
The Court, in response to our motion, granted a non-suit, leading to the dismissal of the case in favor of our clients. This outcome was a testament to our effective legal strategy and the successful challenge to the sufficiency of the Plaintiff’s evidence.