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Personal Injury Verdicts & Awards

Crash victim will receive $11 million


By Michael McNarney

A Dunmore woman who was badly hurt when her car was hit by a runaway garbage truck will collect nearly $11 million.

Insurers for waste hauler J.P. Mascaro & Sons will pay the money -- some in lump sums, some in regular payments -- to Phyllis Burton and her husband, Joseph. The deal was made official Thursday in a hearing before Judge Terrence R. Nealon.

The Burtons sued Mascaro after a garbage truck, overloaded by 4,000 pounds, careened out of control down a hill and smashed into her car on Route 6 in Carbondale on June 25, 1998.

The 1973 truck was described by a Mascaro mechanic as "the worst truck he had ever seen," according to court papers, with bad brakes and other grave problems -- problems Mascaro knew about but didn't fix. Mascaro and the driver were charged with a number of vehicle violations after the crash.

The driver hit the brakes as he drove west on Route 6 but said nothing happened, according to court papers. Witnesses estimated he was going at least 40 mph when he struck Mrs. Burton's Honda Accord, but the truck driver said he didn't know his speed because the speedometer was broken.

Mrs. Burton, 52 when the crash happened, suffered head, neck and back injuries, according to court papers. She has had a series of surgeries, seven nerve blocks, and many other procedures to alleviate pain that is so persistent it has led to chronic depression, according to court papers.

"She is continually fatigued. She has limited sitting and standing tolerance, as well as upper extremity deficits which results in decreased sensation and grip strength," according to court papers. "She is certainly not the person she once was and her treating physicians will opine her injuries are permanent and will be debilitating for the rest of her life."

Mrs. Burton did not attend Thursday's hearing. A message left at her home was not returned. She and her husband were represented by attorneys Bill Jones and Joseph A. Quinn Jr.

Mr. Quinn said he and the Burtons are "thrilled" with the agreement.

"Hopefully it will give them the chance to resume some normalcy in their life," he said.

Mr. Quinn said Mrs. Burton has never been able to return to her job as a nurse, had to give up her athletic activities and is almost confined to her home. Mascaro's insurers, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group and TIG Insurance Co., will pay two lump sums by January totaling $5.5 million, and then smaller lump sums every five years from 2009 to 2024 totaling $480,000.

The remainder of the settlement, at least $5 million -- more if the Burtons live longer -- will be paid in monthly increments.

Mascaro, based in Harleysville in Montgomery County, earlier paid $6.9 million to settle a lawsuit filed in 1987 after one of its trucks lost its brakes on Shady Lane Road in South Abington Township, hit a car, and killed a 5-year-old boy.

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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