United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
PATTY C. WILSON, Individually and as Administratrix of the Estate of Jerry Wilson, Deceased, Plaintiff,
TA OPERATING, LLC, and TRESTON WESLEY HARRIS, Defendants.
Matthew W. Brann United States District Judge
October 2011, tractor trailer driver Jerry Wilson was
traveling along Interstate 80 East in Clinton County,
Pennsylvania when his front brakes caught fire.
Wilson extinguished the flames and guided his rig to the
nearest service center, TA Operating, LLC, in Lamar.
primary technician who serviced the truck, Treston Wesley
Harris, knew about the fire, and after purportedly repairing
Mr. Wilson's brakes, sent him on his way.
minutes later and about fifteen miles east of the repair
shop, Mr. Wilson's brakes caught fire once more.
an effort to put out the flames, Mr. Wilson experienced a
form of cardiac arrest and died.
Plaintiff brought this wrongful death and survival action in
February 2013, wherein she requested an award of punitive
Defendants later moved for summary judgment on
Plaintiff's punitive damages claim.
February 13, 2017, this Court rejected that motion for
summary judgment. See ECF No. 168.
Court applied the following standards, as dictated by the law
of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and federal courts that
have interpreted it:
“Punitive damages may be awarded for conduct that is
outrageous, because of the defendant's evil motive or his
reckless indifference to the rights of others.”
Hutchison ex rel. Hutchison v. Luddy, 582 Pa. 114,
“The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has explained that,
under Pennsylvania law, a principal may be held vicariously
liable for punitive damages if the actions of its agent (1)
were clearly outrageous, (2) were committed during and within
the scope of the agent's duties, and (3) were done with
the intent to further the principal's interests.”
Achey v. Crete Carrier Corp., No. 07-CV-3592, 2009
WL 9083282, at *10 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 30, 2009) (citing
Loughman v. Consol-Pennsylvania Coal Co., 6
F.3d 88, 101 (3d Cir.1993)). “[T]he standard for both
direct and vicarious liability for punitive damages is
ordinary outrageousness.” Gregory v. Sewell,
No. 4:CV-04-2438, 2006 WL 2707405, at *11 (M.D. Pa. Sept. 19,
2006) (Jones, J.).
denying Defendants' motion for summary judgment, I
reasoned that, as applied to the facts of the case, the
propriety of punitive damages ...