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Personal Injury Verdicts & Awards

$7 million settlement reached in '12 crash

Joseph Quinn Personal Injury LawyerWILKES-BARRE – A lawsuit in Luzerne County Court involving a Kingston man who was left disabled after a collision with a tractor-trailer has been settled for $7 million.

The suit was filed by Deborah Prebola on behalf of her 30-year-old son, Jesse Prebola, in January 2012 against the driver of the tractor-trailer and several companies.

After an agreement reached on April 16, according to court papers, the Prebolas and the named defendants came to a $7 million settlement in insurance proceeds approved on May 17 by a county judge.

“We were confident that if the case had proceeded to trial, the award would be in excess of the $7 million,” said attorney Joseph Quinn, of Kingston, who represented the Prebolas. “If we can obtain favorable settlement, we’ll agree to it. This will allow (Deborah Prebola) to be a mom rather than the sole caretaker of Jesse.”

According to the suit, on Oct. 27, 2010, at 11:30 p.m., Jesse Prebola, who was 27 at the time, was driving north on Route 29 outside of Tunkhannock.

Thomas Punko, of Plymouth, was operating a tractor-trailer approaching in the southbound lane with a load of auto parts to be delivered to Tunkhannock Auto Mart, according to the suit. The suit states Punko was given specific instructions on how to deliver the parts but “ignored” them, pulling the truck into the northbound lane.

In testimony, police said Jesse Prebola would not have been able to see the trailer until it was too late for him to react, causing his vehicle to strike the rig.

Court papers indicate Jesse Prebola was immediately rendered unconscious and suffered several seizures. He was air-lifted to a hospital, where he was in a coma for more than 30 days.

Prebola has suffered permanent impairment, the suit states, and doctors have determined he is disabled. “(Deborah Prebola) has given up her employment … and her life to care for her son because of his severe cognitive defects,” Quinn said. “The injuries he sustained to his brain affects his judgment in every regard.”

The suit named Punko’s employer, JWB Logistics Corp., as a defendant, as well as River Street Ideallease, which owned the truck, and Trucks on the Run, which leased the truck. The suit also named TMD Corp., which borrowed the truck and for whom Punko was running a route, and other entities as defendants. All have addresses in New Jersey, according to the suit.

According to the settlement, the following amounts will be paid:

  • $287,462 to repay Medicare for accident-related treatment and care Jesse Prebola has received.
  • $2.8 million in attorney’s fees.
  • $152,721 in fees to reimburse expenses of HKQ Law P.C.
  • $107,440 to Lenahan & Dempsey P.C. for expenses incurred.
  • $50,000 retained in an escrow for additional costs incurred.
  • $3.5 million to Deborah Prebola, as a temporary guardian of Jesse Prebola.

The agreement also outlines payments to be made in regard to child support obligations Jesse Prebola
pays for a minor child, as well as fees to be awarded to attorneys representing parties in that aspect of the
case: Jacqueline Musto Carroll and Fred Howe.

Listed defendants in the case already had paid an advance $100,000 for medical care, according to the

A trust will be established for Jesse Prebola, Quinn said, to make sure any money is properly invested
and that Prebola continues to receive necessary medical care.

About HKQ Law

Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn is considered one of the top civil litigation and commercial law firms that has had the privilege of representing more families in the courtroom than any other NEPA firm. The attorneys at HKQ Law have been honored as Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, Best Law Firms by US News and World Report, and have received the AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbel. HKQ Law was recently recognized for one of the top 20 Verdicts in Pennsylvania.

The firm’s Personal Injury Team, led by Attorney Joe Quinn, Jr., has won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in the region's history. The Personal Injury Team focuses on a wide array of personal injury claims and civil litigation, including medical malpractice, auto and truck accidents, aviation accidents, unsafe vehicles, dangerous or defective products, workplace injuries (worker's compensation), construction site accidents, claim denials by insurance companies, dangerous drugs, defective children's products, nursing home abuse and neglect, and falls due to unsafe conditions (slip and fall).

Attorney Joseph A Quinn, Jr. is one of only 100 attorneys in the United States (and one of only three in Pennsylvania) honored with membership in the Inner Circle of Trial Advocates, and one of only 500 attorneys worldwide chosen to be a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He has been a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer every year since the program began and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America every year since the publication was established in 1987. Best Lawyers also named him top personal injury attorney for Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. In addition, Best Lawyers, in conjunction with U.S. News & World Report, has designated HKQ a Tier 1 Best Law Firm across multiple categories in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.

Since the inception of the firm, the Commercial / Corporate Team led by Attorney Allan Kluger has provided comprehensive, integrated legal services to many of Northeastern and Eastern Pennsylvania's largest corporations, businesses, banks, non-profits and institutions, handling matters involving labor and employment, wills, trusts and estate planning, estate administration, elder law, commercial transactions, residential and commercial real estate, zoning, land use and development, telecommunications, mediations and arbitrations, commercial litigation, title insurance, business planning and business succession, corporate/business structuring, employment discrimination law for employers, banking, creditor’s rights, finance, lender liability defense, covenants not to compete, construction law, mergers and acquisitions and other business matters.

Additional information can be found at or by calling (800) 760-1529.



As Hourigan, Kluger and Quinn addresses the concerns raised by COVID-19, the health and safety of our clients, employees and friends of the firm remain our top priority.

These are very difficult and scary times and we hope that you and your loved ones are safe and symptom free. We recognize that so many of you are understandably anxious about your health, the economic impact of this pandemic and all of the consequences of social isolation.

We also recognize that many of you are anxious about how the coronavirus is impacting the Court systems, our firm and your cases. Although all of our offices are closed, our firm has remained fully operational and we have initiated procedures that allow all of our attorneys and staff to work remotely from their homes. Each of us and our staff will respond to any emails and calls about your cases as quickly as possible.

Our Federal and State Courts have instituted significant changes in their calendars as a result of the coronavirus. Although most courthouses are closed to the public, and Hearings and Trials will be delayed for some time, there are matters that can proceed telephonically and by video. Despite these changes in the Court calendars, we are working diligently on your cases and are determined to do whatever we possibly can to assure an early and just recovery for you and your loved ones. Even under these difficult circumstances, we believe that "Nobody will work harder for you than we will."

With regard to new potential clients, we are not in a position to have an in-person new client meeting, but we will be conducting these initial meetings via phone. New potential clients should call us for a free telephone consultation at (570) 287-3000.


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