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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.

About Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn, PC

Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn is considered one of the top civil litigation and commercial law firms in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The firm’s Personal Injury Team has won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in the region's history and was recently recognized for one of the top 20 Verdicts in Pennsylvania.

The Personal Injury Team, led by Attorney Joseph A. Quinn, Jr. 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 for personal injury and medical malpractice litigation 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.



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