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Texting While Driving: A Cause for Punitives in PA?

February 8, 2012

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We previously <a href="http://www.wcmlaw.com/blog/Default.aspx?g=posts&amp;t=787">commented</a> on an Allegeheny trial court decision that suggested that texting while driving might constitute recklessness such that a request for punitive damages could be made.  A Northampton trial judge has reached a different <a href="http://www.law.com/jsp/pa/PubArticleFriendlyPA.jsp?id=1202541281635">conclusion</a> in the case of <em>Xander v. Kiss</em>.  In that case, Judge Zito granted the defendant driver's motion to dismiss the request for punitive damages based upon the texting allegation.  The court wrote that while allegations of texting while driving established a prima facie claim for negligence, they fell "short of establishing the defendant's evil motive or reckless indifference to her rights", which would be required to allow a request for punitive damages to stand.
Stay tuned!  Much more case law, and perhaps some legislation, will likely be coming down the pike, i.e. the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
For more information about this post, please contact Bob Cosgrove at rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com.

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