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Personal Injury Verdicts & Awards

Jury awards millions in area woman's death

June 3, 2003

Jury awards millions in area woman's death

Staff Writer

SCRANTON - A federal jury on Friday awarded $5.7 million to the family of a Pittston woman who was killed after a tractor-trailer blew out a tire and slammed into her sport-utility vehicle in Susquehanna County.

The award to the family of Colleen Angela Shea could increase significantly when the panel returns tomorrow to determine the amount of punitive damages against the trucking firms associated with the driver.

Shea, 28, of Renfer Street, was killed Oct. 19, 2001, when Jerry R. Slyter of Wolcott, N.Y., lost control of his rig, crossed a median, and hit Shea's 1999 Mitsubishi head on in the southbound lane of Interstate 81 in New Milford.

A jury heard testimony for 3 1/2 weeks and deliberated for about four hours Friday before returning the verdict in the U.S. District Court.
The trial centered on whether Slyter could have regained control of his rig. The defense argued the blowout was a "sudden emergency" that Slyter could not recover from. But Shea's attorney, Joe Quinn, maintained fatigue was a major factor. Slyter had been driving for nine days without a day off and was in violation of federal law that limits the number of hours a tractor-trailer driver can work, according to court records.

The suit named as defendants Slyter and trucking entities Page Transportation Inc., Keith Titus Corp. and John Pfrommer LLC. The total award was $5,716,656, with the bulk of the verdict, $4.2 million, attributed to Shea's lost earning capacity.

The jury also found the corporate entities acted with "reckless indifference," which allows Shea's estate to seek punitive damages.

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

Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn, PC is led by Attorney Joseph Quinn, one of the Top 100 trial lawyers in the nation. Seventeen lawyers strong, HKQ Law represents Personal Injury, Business Law and Personal Law clients in Lackawanna, Luzerne and surrounding northeastern PA counties for more than half a century. HKQ Law has won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in the region's history, totaling over a half billion dollars on behalf of injured clients, and was recently recognized for one of the top 20 Verdicts in Pennsylvania, 2015.

The attorneys at HKQ Law have been honored as Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, Best Law Firms by US News and World Reports, and have received the AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbel. Additional information can be found at or by calling (800) 760-1529.



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