U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Upholds Summary Judgment in Favor of a Fortune 100 Global Aerospace Company
Post & Schell, P.C. today announced that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld a District Court’s entry of Summary Judgment in favor of a Fortune 100 global aerospace corporation client in a case involving a wrongful death/negligence claim. The federal appellate court also directed the entry of Summary Judgment in favor of the client on its cross-appeal that redirects reimbursement of the client's costs in defending the lawsuit.
The litigation involved a claim of wrongful death and negligence arising from a murder/suicide which took place at the client’s Pennsylvania-based facility. The Plaintiffs alleged that the client and the co-defendant security company were negligent in not providing a safe workplace and knew that the perpetrator had a “tendency toward violence.”
Upholds Summary Judgment
In upholding the previous ruling of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania issued through Senior District Judge A. Richard Caputo, the federal appellate court noted that the evidence could not support a finding that the defending parties’ purported prior knowledge of the perpetrator’s tendency towards violence was sufficient to suggest that he would be prone to committing murder. As such, the defendants could not be held responsible under a negligence theory.
Summary Judgment on Cross Appeal
Notably, the federal appellate tribunal also directed a reversal of the District Court’s previous decision, which was preserved via a cross-appeal regarding a contract which included an indemnification clause, and directed that Summary Judgment also be entered in favor of Post & Schell’s client, mandating the reimbursement of litigation costs and attorneys’ fees from the co-defendant.
With respect to the indemnification issue, the Third Circuit Court overturned Judge Caputo’s previous dismissal of the client’s cross-claim against the co-defendant, a security company that employed the perpetrator. The appellate tribunal concluded that the contract between the Corporations provided for, “acts and omissions of the [security company] and its employees.” As a result, the Third Circuit Court ruled that Post & Schell’s client was entitled to be reimbursed for costs and attorneys’ fees incurred in defending the lawsuit which was precipitated by an act of one of the co-defendant’s employees.