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Personal Injury Verdicts & Awards

$2.75 million in punitive damages awarded in lawsuit

June 5, 2003

A federal jury on Wednesday awarded an additional $2.75 million in punitive damages to the family of a Pittston woman killed in a collision with a tractor trailer, bringing the total award to $8.46 million.

Colleen Shea, 28, of Renfer Street, was killed on Oct. 19, 2001, when Jerry R. Slyter of Wolcott, N.Y., lost control of his rig after blowing a tire and crossed a median, hitting Shea's 1999 Mitsubishi head on in the southbound lane of Interstate 81 in Susquehanna County.

A jury in the U.S. District Court last week found Slyter was negligent and awarded Shea's family $5.7 million in compensatory damages against Slyter and three trucking firms. The panel also found the trucking firms acted with reckless indifference, which allowed Shea's family to seek punitive damages.

The defendants' attorneys argued the blowout was a sudden emergency from which Slyter could not recover. Shea's attorney, Joseph Quinn, argued Slyter was fatigued, and drove more than the 70 hours per week allowed under federal law.

"It was outrageous neglect," Quinn said. 'He came roaring out of the median and into her lane of travel."

Quinn also filed a motion Thursday seeking $118,405 in interest in addition to the compensatory and punitive damages. A judge will rule on that motion at later date.

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

HKQ Law is considered one of the top civil litigation and commercial law firms in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Nine attorneys at HKQ Law were recently named to the 2019 Best Lawyers List and has been designated a Tier 1 Best Law Firm for personal injury, medical malpractice litigation labor law and corporate law in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. The firm’s Personal Injury Team, led by Attorney Joe Quinn, has won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in the region's history on behalf of injured clients. The firm was also recently recognized for one of the top 20 Verdicts in Pennsylvania.

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 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.

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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