Caroselli Beachler McTiernan & Conboy, L.L.C. Blog

Customer’s death blamed on Allegheny County shop’s negligence

Owners of Allegheny County stores and restaurants invite customers to visit, shop and buy. As a property owner or leasee, the business promises to provide a reasonable level of security for the invited party. The business owner is responsible for customer safety, including prevention of accidents and violence.

The parents of a 24-year-old Brookline shooting victim have filed a premises liability claim against Oakland's Original Hot Dog Shop. The complaint alleges that the defendant didn't do enough to prevent the plaintiffs' son, a customer, from being killed outside the restaurant. The young man died after he was shot in the back, while running from an early-morning fight between two groups of friends.

Postal Service on defense in Pennsylvania slip and fall case

The winter of 2013-2014 was not the snowiest in Pittsburgh history, but it was in the top 10, according to the National Weather Service. The city received 63.3 inches of snow during the official winter season, far above the average of 41.9 inches per year. There were plenty of icy sidewalks in Allegheny County and opportunities for slip and fall accidents.

The removal of snow and ice is a property owner's responsibility, according to conditions dictated by municipal ordinances. The job can be delegated to a property manager or leaseholder, but the owner remains liable when someone gets hurt. Homeowners have often been reminded to clear sidewalks for mail carriers but has the U.S. Postal Service been ignoring its own advice?

Pennsylvania plant blames deadly blast on human mistakes

Allegheny County victims of workplace accidents and their families often face several formidable challenges. Injuries caused by fires and explosions can include painful, difficult-to-treat burns. Financial instability touched off by mounting medical bills and a patient's inability to work, temporarily or permanently, adds more stress.

Three million workers were injured in U.S. private industry jobs in 2011, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey. The figure represented more than three injuries for every 100 employees working full time. In 2012, the government agency reported six deaths from Pennsylvania at-work fires and explosions.

Pennsylvania college faulted for security neglect after attack

Stewardship is part of owning a property in Allegheny County. The duties of property owners and caretakers include protecting visitors from harm, whether the danger is an unmaintained slippery surface or a lack of adequate lighting in a dark parking lot. Owner negligence is often more about a landowner's failure to act than something the property owner did.

A premises liability lawsuit was filed recently against Villanova University by a former student, who was injured on the school's Philadelphia-area campus. The federal legal claim blames poor school security for failing to prevent a September 2012 attack. The plaintiff said, to add insult to injury, Villanova did not punish the student appropriately who initiated the assault.

Premises liability claims for fan injuries favor sports teams

After witnessing player injuries, Pittsburgh Pirates fans understand baseballs and other objects in flight during sporting events can be dangerous. Protective netting and other shields protect some fans. Not all spectators are safe from flying balls and bats.

Individuals, including property owners, owe others a duty of care when dangerous conditions are present. Operating a vehicle is a potentially dangerous activity, so Allegheny County motorists are expected to use reasonable care to protect other drivers. The same applies to property hazards -- a landowner must attempt to prevent a visitor's injury by maintaining a safe premises.

Pennsylvania's cast iron gas pipes outdated, dangerous

Natural gas is a preferred source of heat for many Allegheny County families. The combustibility of natural gas often doesn't come to mind until you see or hear about an explosion, like the recent devastating blast in Harlem. Over 2.4 million miles of gas pipelines run across the U.S. landscape, with 80 percent made up of distribution lines into homes and businesses.

Cast iron and steel pipes are giving way to plastic replacements, but the changeover isn't a fast one. Fifty percent of the pipes in use in America today were made in the middle of the last century. A significant number of cast iron pipes still remain in Pennsylvania and New York, where the source of the deadly March blast may have been in a 100-year-old cast iron pipe system.

Pennsylvania harness racer claims Harrah's ignored track defect

Allegheny County property owners owe visitors a duty of care. A person injured on someone else's property -- like a home, workplace, rental property or store -- may be eligible for compensation through a premises liability claim. Property owners who do not protect visitors from harm may be held accountable for negligence.

A harness racing driver suffered disabling injuries during a race at Harrah's Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack in November. The 31-year-old driver was trampled by racehorses after being thrown from his sulky, the cart in which harness racers sit. A lawsuit claims the driver's injuries were caused by dangerous conditions on Harrah's racetrack.

Slip and fall injury blamed for thrift store employee's death

Only traffic crashes are responsible for more workplace deaths than fatalities caused by slipping, tripping or falling. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, about 15 percent of all on-the-job fatalities are linked to slips, trips or falls. Workers' compensation insurance provides benefits for injured employees, but doesn't cover harm to non-employees or worker injuries caused by third-party negligence.

A father of two, employed at a thrift shop, admitted problems earlier in life prevented him from getting on the right track. The store director said the employee was thrilled to move into a full-time job at the shop in 2012, two years after the man started working there part-time.

Pennsylvania judge rejects claim uneven parking lot was trivial

Allegheny County walking surfaces are not free of bumps or dips. Uneven pavements can be responsible for slips, trips or falls suffered by visitors to commercial businesses. Property owners are responsible for injuries caused by dangerous conditions, but aren't some surface defects insignificant?

A de mimimus defect is a flaw so minor that a court finds it to be negligible. However, small defects may produce disproportionate suffering. There's nothing trivial about a premises liability case to a fall victim, with painful and costly injuries.

Bones at Pennsylvania blast site may belong to missing worker

Two civil claims may be filed when someone dies due to another party's carelessness. The victim's estate may initiate a survival action for losses suffered by the decedent. Under the Wrongful Death Act in Pennsylvania Code Section 2202, wrongful death claims may be filed only by family members entitled to recover damages – spouses, children and parents.

Greene County authorities suspected a worker died in a Feb. 11 explosion at a natural gas drilling site. A search was delayed eight days, as crews worked to stabilize conditions at the wells. The last time colleagues saw the 27-year-old man, the service technician was standing near a crane.