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Find out about the most important recent Pennsylvania cases, selected by VerdictSearch editors. Coverage includes Allegheny, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.
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Restaurant patron hit with $3M verdict for sexual assault
A jury awarded a restaurant server in Philadelphia $3 million in her lawsuit against a patron who sexually assaulted her. In 2016, Kristin Lisi, 51, was working at the Scarpetta restaurant when Gregory Englesbe grabbed her by the neck, spun her around, dipped her and kissed her. She broke free and informed restaurant management. Lisi claimed bulging at a cervical disc, a tear at the left rotator-cuff and a nerve injury which caused pain in her left arm. Lisi sued Englesbe, alleging assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The restaurant was dismissed. Englesbe apologized, attributing his actions to being inebriated. The jury found Englesbe liable and awarded Lisi $3 million, of which $2.4 million was punitive.
Lisi v. Scarpetta Philadelphia
Jury finds both parties liable for Papa John’s tussle
A tussle in a Papa John’s restaurant between a customer and an employee resulted in a jury finding both parties liable. In 2014, Edward Erkel, 56, entered a Papa John's in Pittsburgh to pick up a pre-paid pizza. The employee would not give him his order, putting the pizza on a metal shelf behind the counter. Erkel attempted to retrieve his order and the men scuffled. Erkel's right hand struck the shelf, causing a laceration which required repair of a tendon and nerve. Erkel alleged the rack was a dangerous condition. The restaurant denied this and pointed out that Erkel had entered an employee-only area. The jury found Erkel 49 percent liable and the restaurant 51 percent liable. Erkel was awarded $28,314.41, which was reduced to $14,440.35.
Erkel v. Bajco LLC
Injured truck-assembly worker claimed machine was flawed
A manufacturer of industrial machines paid nearly $1 million to a man who was injured while working at a truck-assembly plant in Breinigsville. In 2014, Osvaldo Rivera, 43, a worker at Westport Axle Corp., suffered a crushed right hand while installing a drive-shaft into a truck body. A mechanical arm on a driveshaft manipulator had telescoped, causing permanent damage to his dominant hand. Rivera sued ROI Industries Group Inc., the designer of the driveshaft manipulator, and several other companies which were dismissed or settled. Rivera alleged the telescoping parts were defectively designed, creating hazardous pinch points. The defense denied the allegations but ROI Industries settled for $975,000.
Rivera v. Westport Axle Corp.
Largest Pennsylvania Jury Verdicts
|$25,000,000||Sweigart v. Voyager Trucking Corp.||Federal||Nov. 4|
|$21,000,000||Brown v. Conrail Inc.||Philadelphia Co.||March 17|
|$19,665,312||Melendez v. Mo||Philadelphia Co.||Sept. 21|
|$19,000,000||Fraser v. O'Black||Westmoreland Co.||March 11|
|$18,111,250||Burnley v. Loews Hotel||Philadelphia Co.||Aug. 31|
|$18,000,000||Downes v. Axia Women’s Health||Chester Co.||July 22|
|$8,219,175||D’Amico v. Covanta Corp.||Philadelphia Co.||Oct. 5|
|$4,600,000||Winterstein v. McNeil||Philadelphia Co.||Feb. 7|
|$3,822,232||Rugg v. Jessop Steel, LLC||Philadelphia Co.||July 14|
|$2,946,500||Castagna v. West Mifflin Area School District||Federal||March 7|