Rapid Response for Catastrophic Accidents Only

FHMS Initials

Fowler, Campbell, and Vodzak Win Post-Trial Motion in Philadelphia: Judgment Entered for Defendants

In October 2019, Joe Fowler and Jacqui Campbell obtained a defense verdict after eight days of trial in Griffin v. Advanced Disposal Services, a Philadelphia County case with contested liability and catastrophic injuries. The plaintiffs filed a Motion for Post-Trial Relief claiming 20 different errors warranted a new trial. Among other things, the plaintiffs’ challenged the rulings on defendants’ motion in limine that successfully eliminated evidence of the driver’s prior driving history and the defendants’ motion for directed verdict that dismissed the direct negligence claims against the company.

FHMS appellate attorney Matthew Vodzak drafted defendants’ brief in opposition. Sifting through the plaintiffs’ arguments, Vodzak succinctly clarified for the court how and why the plaintiffs’ arguments were meritless, waived, or harmless error. Following oral argument, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Frederica Massiah-Jackson concluded that the plaintiffs’ motion was “DENIED in its entirety” and entered judgment in favor of the defendants.

In a 23-page opinion, Judge Massiah-Jackson agreed with the legal arguments presented by the defendants and explained in detail why the record did not support the plaintiffs’ contentions. Citing the case law relied on by the defendants, the court rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that a decision by a Magisterial District Court applied in this case to collaterally estop the defendants from challenging liability. The court further agreed with the defendants’ position that the jury was properly charged with both the Sudden Emergency Defense and the Assured Clear Distance Rule.

For questions or a copy of the opinion, please contact FHMSlaw@fhmslaw.com