Collingwood v. Consol Pennsylvania Coal Company et al., Washington County 2010-2186, $3.3 million jury verdict on September 18, 2012. Consol owns an expensive piece of mining equipment called a coal shearer. Mr. Collingwood was driving his pick-up truck southbound on Route 221 in Washington County, Pennsylvania. Route 221 is a two-lane road, with one lane in each direction. A tractor-trailer carrying Consol’s coal shearer was being driven northbound on Route 221. As the two vehicles passed each other, a 123-pound metal cylinder, which is a part of the shearer, fell from the equipment, crashed through the windshield of Mr. Collingwood’s truck, and decapitated him. Mr. Collingwood did not do anything to contribute to the accident. Consol Pennsylvania Coal Company is a subsidiary of Consol Energy, Inc., the company which has paid for the naming rights to the hockey arena in Pittsburgh. Throughout the trial, Consol maintained that after it loaded its shearer on the trailer, “it’s not their problem anymore”. Consol argued that it was not negligent for failing to require the coal shearer to be covered with a tarp while traveling on the roads in Washington and Allegheny counties and that it did not have to inspect the equipment for loose objects before it left the mine premises. At trial,skillful and vigorous cross-examination forced Consol’s mining expert to concede that Consol failed to take numerous safety precautions which would have prevented the death of Mr. Collingwood. This is the largest verdict in a motor vehicle-related death case in the history of Washington County. Consol never made an offer of settlement prior to trial
Lynn v. Westport Insurance Corp., 258 Fed. Appx. 438, 2007 WL 4351428 (3d Cir. 2007). A tow truck operator was injured by a passing motorist while he was assisting a disabled vehicle on the side of a busy highway. Established new case law that the operator of a commercial vehicle is deemed to be “occupying” his work vehicle when outside said vehicle performing duties necessary to use it and, therefore, is entitled to recover Underinsured Motorist’s benefits from his employer’s automobile insurance carrier
Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company v. Larry G. Squires, 667 F.3d 388 (3rd. Cir. 2012). A motorist swerved to avoid a cardboard box in the middle of the road, and rolled his pickup truck sustaining injuries to his knee. This case established new law in Pennsylvania, as the Federal Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that an accident caused by an item dropped from an unidentified vehicle is deemed to have “ar[isen] out of the maintenance, ownership, or use” of an uninsured vehicle under the plaintiff’s automobile insurance policy.