In the case of Furhman v. Mawyer, No. 1:21-CV-02024 (M.D. Pa. June 28, 2022 Kane, J.), the court declined to dismiss a punitive damages claim where the record revealed that the Defendant tractor trailer driver was facing pending criminal charges of homicide by vehicle and careless driving.
The court found that the Plaintiff had sufficiently pled that the Defendants’ actions leading to the fatal accident at issue constituted a reckless disregard of the substantial risk of a serious injury. The Plaintiff alleged, in part, that the tractor trailer driver ran a red light while driving through town and struck the Plaintiff’s vehicle, resulting in fatal injuries to the Plaintiff.
The Court noted that, while the Plaintiff had pled in the Complaint the many violations that made up the charges against the Defendant driver, the Plaintiff had not pled as to whether the Defendant driver had been formally charged. The Court noted that it had the power to look outside of the Complaint to review documents of public record. In doing so, the Court confirmed that the Defendant had been formally charged criminally.
The court did otherwise grant in part and deny in part the Defendant’s Motion for a More Definite Statement under F.R.C.P. 12(e).
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Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (July 21, 2022).