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Personal Injury Verdicts & Awards


Volume XXVI, Number 20
Copyright 2003 by American Lawyer Media, ALM LLC

May 19, 2003

Verdicts and Settlements


Date of Verdict: April 3, 2003.
Court and Case Number: C.P. Lackawanna, No. 4080-C of 1999.
Judge: Carmen A. Minora.

Type of Action: Negligence/Premises Liability.
Injuries: Lumbar disc herniations at L5-S1, L4-L5 laminectomies and lumbar fusion with pedicle screw fixation.

Plaintiff(s) I Attorney(s) : Donald C. Ligorio, Hourigan Kluger & Quinn, Kingston and Scranton.

Defense Attorney(s) : James Fryling, Connor Riley & Fryling, Erie. Plaintiff(s) Expert(s) : Lucian Bednarz, M.D., physiatry, Scranton; Mark Bell, M.D., pain management, Plains; Stephen Eisner, M.D., internal medicine, Scranton; M.A. Rahman, M.D., psychiatry, Scranton; Andrew C. Verzilli, economist, Philadelphia; Patricia A. Chilleri, C.R.C., vocational specialist, Kingston; Ruth Atherholt, R.N., life care planning, Kingston. Defendant(s) Expert(s): Stephen Wistar, meteorologist, State College.


Lorraine Morgan brought a negligence and premises liability suit against Aspen Square Management Inc., the management company responsible for maintaining the premises at the Summit Pointe Apartment complex, following a slip and fall accident that yielded several injuries.

Overnight, Jan. 2 to 3, 1999, a freezing rain and ice storm deposited between one half and one and a half inches of snow throughout the common areas of the apartment complex. The plaintiff asserted that Aspen Square's employees were aware of the icy conditions as early as 7 a.m., and that at 9:30 a.m. the maintenance superintendent sent home an extra employee, indicating that he felt that the situation was under control and that all of the common areas had been salted. However, when Morgan exited her apartment at approximately 12:30 p.m., she slipped on an icy step, causing her to twist and fall down a concrete flight of steps.

Morgan was ultimately diagnosed with lumbar disc herniations at L4-L5 and L5-S1. She underwent two lumbar laminectomies and a lumbar fusion, and continues to suffer from chronic back and leg pain. She claimed she has been unable to return to work as a customer service representative production scheduler due to her injuries.

The defense maintained that the apartment complex was not responsible for generally slippery conditions and that Morgan was contributory negligent. The defense also asserted that the case should be governed by the hills and ridges doctrine; however, the trial court judge chose not to charge the jury on this doctrine but rather on general negligence principles.

After a four-day trial and approximately four hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict in the amount of $1.134 million, with $500,000 for pain and suffering and $634,000 for past and future wage loss and medical expenses. The jury also found the defendant 60 percent responsible and the plaintiff 40 percent contributory negligent under the comparative negligence statute. As such, the verdict was molded to $680,400.

Defense counsel said a post-trial motion is pending.

PLEASE NOTE: Every case is fact specific, and these results do not guaranty the same results will be obtained in a different case.

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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