Cooley & Handy overcame several challenging legal obstacles to reach a settlement in the case.
First, the defendants in the case were all young men without substantial assets or the ability to otherwise satisfy a judgment. By pursing the case under a strict negligence theory however, and intentionally rejecting allegations of assault and battery, Cooley & Handy was able to obtain insurance coverage from several of the defendants’ parents’ homeowner insurance policies, which cover negligent acts but do not cover “intentional” acts, such as assaults. This theory also fit well with the facts of the case since most, if not all, of the defendants likely did not actually intend to injury the plaintiff, particularly to the extent of his injuries.
Second, because no witness could definitively identify the individual defendant that actually pushed the plaintiff, and all of the defendants denied doing so, Cooley & Handy had to proceed against all of the defendants under a theory of concerted tortious conduct or “enterprise liability,” which had the added benefit of making more than one of the defendant’s insurance policies available to satisfy a judgment. Pennsylvania law allows liability to be imposed on individuals who engage in concerted tortious conduct, such as the behavior that occurred in the case (i.e. starting and participating in a fight). See, e.g., Sovereign Bank v. Valentino, 914 A.2d 415 (Pa. Super. 2007),
The settlement was reached after extensive discovery and litigation in the case. The specific terms of the settlement are confidential. The lawsuit was filed in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Cooley & Handy is a Bucks County personal injury law firm that represents plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits in both state and federal court in Bucks County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, and throughout Pennsylvania and elsewhere.