Experience and knowledge are the keys to success when defending commercial motor vehicles and their insurers in motor vehicle accident litigation, freight claims and insurance coverage disputes. At RAWLE & HENDERSON, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Section is composed of more than twenty attorneys who focus their practice on commercial motor vehicle defense. The attorneys in this group defend the owners of commercial motor vehicles and their insurers on a daily basis; not as part of their practice, but as their primary practice. Aggressive defense and frequent reporting are the hallmarks of this practice group.

The attorneys in the Commercial Motor Vehicle Section have experience in federal and state court litigation and they know the problems facing the industry today. The attorneys are active members in transportation-related organizations, such as the Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA), Transportation Lawyers Association (TLA), Commercial Transportation Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association (ABA), American Trucking Association Litigation Center (ATA), American College of Transportation Attorneys (ACTA), and the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware Motor Truck Associations.

The Commercial Motor Vehicle Section has an After Hours Emergency Response Number888-RAWLE10 (888-729-5310) so the attorneys are accessible to respond to any emergency which arises after customary business hours.

This team of trial attorneys defends commercial motor vehicle cases in all of the federal and state courts of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware. Additionally, they have been requested by clients to defend lawsuits in other states such as Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Florida.

The Commercial Motor Vehicle Section at RAWLE & HENDERSON publishes a monthly newsletter, the Transportation Law Update, as a service to its clients and the industry. The newsletter provides timely articles on new trends in the law and the potential impact of these developments on litigation concerning the industry. In addition, State Law Summaries for Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware have been prepared which outline significant laws that affect commercial motor vehicles operating in those jurisdictions. The Transportation Law Update and State Law Summaries are available on this website.

Representative Cases

Estate of Warner v. J.B. Hunt Transport
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas
     •  defendant making left turn into roadway
     •  side underride fatality
     •  decedent with 0.245 blood alcohol content
     •  jury verdict for defendants

Battestelli v. Werner Enterprises, Inc., Richard Zeutschel and Corey Arana
Court of Common Pleas, Montgomery County, PA
     •  22-year-old plaintiff passenger    
     •  traumatic brain injury, fractured skull
     •  initial demand $7.5 million
     •  jury verdict for defendant

Walsh, et al. v. Werner Enterprises, Inc., et al.
U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
     •  plaintiffs claimed a variety of injuries
     •  settlement demand over $1 million; $5 million demand prior to trial
     •  jury verdict for defendant 

Knoch v. J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc.
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
     •  plaintiff sustained life threatening abdominal injuries, including a mesenteric artery tear, a broken knee cap, an ankle fracture and an achilles tendon tear
     •  seven surgical procedures
     •  settlement demand well in excess of $1 million
     •  jury verdict for defendant

Grace v. Werner Enterprises, Inc. et al.
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
     •  plaintiff claimed cervical whiplash with myofascial pain, lumbar disc syndrome with right-sided sciatica, L4-5 disc bulge, right lateral L3-4 and L5-S1 disc protrusions, right arm numbness and tingling, and right carpal tunnel syndrome
     •  settlement demand of $150,000 prior to trial
     •  jury awarded damages of $35,000

Vargo v. Werner Enterprises, Inc.
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
     •  18-year-old female plaintiff
     •  multiple fractures to the pelvis requiring a metal plate and eight screws, fractured ribs, a lacerated spleen, lacerated kidney, a right clavicle fracture, and puncture wound of the left thigh resulting in a 10" scar
     •  disputed lane change accident
     •  jury verdict for defendants 

Vitale v. Celadon Trucking Services
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
     •  20-year-old male plaintiff
     •  permanent brain injury
     •  settlement demand $3 million
     •  jury verdict for defendants

David v. Swift Transportation Co.
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
     •  plaintiff was truck driver who stopped to assist Swift driver; plaintiff was under the trailer helping to install a pin at the rear tandem when the truck moved and allegedly injured plaintiff
     •  defense was hampered by the fact that the court had to rely on the plaintiff’s version of the accident because Swift’s driver no longer worked for Swift and he could not be found
     •  initial demand of $750,000; prior to trial, demand lowered to $350,000
     •  at trial, plaintiff was found to be 25% negligent and the jury’s verdict was $75,000 

Simon v. Abele Tractor & Equipment, et al.
Supreme Court of New York for Westchester County, NY
     •  alleged defect in braking system of truck owned and leased by client defendant
     •  plaintiff sustained traumatic brain injury, comminuted tibia and fibula fractures requiring surgical intervention, rib fractures, herniated cervical and lumbar discs as well as other injuries and damages
     •  plaintiff settlement demand $4.5 million
     •  jury verdict for defendant

Thomas A. Finn v. J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc.
U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia, PA
     •  62-year-old male plaintiff
     •  alleged wrongful termination of employment based on age discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and breach of contract
     •  initial demand of $2.5 million
     •  summary judgment for defendant at District Court level; affirmed by Third Circuit Court of Appeals

Vitaioli v. J.B. Hunt Transport
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
     • admission of liability
     •  multiple sclerosis; cervical laminectomy and depressive disorder
     •  jury verdict for defendants 

Orlando v. A & R Transport
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas
     •  herniated lumbar disc
     •  aggravation of avascular necrosis requiring core
        de-compression surgery and total hip replacement
     •  jury verdict for defendants

Wysocki v. Apache Transport
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
     •  26-year-old single mother
     •  brachial plexus injury
     •  two surgical procedures
     •  jury verdict for defendants

Publications

Transportation Law Update: 2017 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

PENNSYLVANIA SUPER LAWYERS AND RISING STARS. Three attorneys in the Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh offices of our Commercial Motor Vehicle Section have been selected as 2017 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars. Timothy J. Abeel and Gary N. Stewart have been selected as Super Lawyers; David R. Chludzinski has been named a Rising Star.

  TLUV18N1.pdf

Gary Stewart speaks at 2016 Trucking Industry Defense Association Seminar on October 13

Gary N. Stewart, a partner in our Harrisburg office, spoke at the Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA) Annual Seminar held in Baltimore, Maryland, from October 12 to 14, 2016.

>

The Legal Intelligencer, Aug. 30, 2016: Nigel Greene appointed to ABA TIPS transportation committee

Nigel A. Greene, a partner in Rawle & Henderson’s Philadelphia office, was appointed vice chair of the American Bar Association’s tort trial and insurance practice section (TIPS) commercial transportation litigation general committee for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

  LI_August_30_2016.pdf

TIDA Fall 2015 Newsletter: Cell Phone Laws & Trends In Various Jurisdictions

Cell Phone Laws & Trends In Various Jurisdictions. By Gary N. Stewart and Robert J. Aldrich III. On Dec. 2, 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a rule restricting the use of hand-held cell phones by drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMV). The rule took effect on Jan. 3, 2012. See 49 CFR § 392.82; see also 76 FR 75470.

  TIDA_Fall_2015_Newsletter_-_Cell_Phone_Laws_and_Trends.pdf

Transportation Law Update, Volume 16, Number 4: NJ—Summary Judgment: No Principal-Agent Relationship

NEW JERSEY—Summary Judgment: No Principal-Agent Relationship. Rawle & Henderson LLP was recently granted summary judgment in a case involving the fact-sensitive question of whether an agency relationship existed between co-defendants.

  TLUV16N4.pdf

Transportation Law Update: Pennsylvania—Admitted Liability/Reduced Damages

PENNSYLVANIA: Admitted Liability/Reduced Damages. By Kerry A. May and Nigel A. Greene. Our client, a package delivery company, faced a daunting case of liability. On July 7, 2011, under clear skies, its driver struck a vehicle driven by plaintiff. The accident occurred at the intersection of New Bold Road and Canal Road in Falls Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

  TLUV16N1.pdf

Transportation Law Update, Nov. 2014 — Pennsylvania: No Direct Negligence Claim Against Employer

PENNSYLVANIA: Punitive Damages – No Direct Negligence Claim Against Employer. By Gary N. Stewart. U.S. Senior District Judge A. Richard Caputo of the Middle District of Pennsylvania (Wilkes-Barre) issued a memorandum decision confirming that federal district courts in Pennsylvania apply the “majority rule” and refuse to allow claims for negligent entrustment, supervision, monitoring and hiring to proceed when 1) the supervisor/employer defendant admits that its employee/driver was acting in the scope of his or her employment at the time of the accident and 2) plaintiff does not have a viable claim for punitive damages against the supervisor/employer defendant.

  TLUV15N7.pdf

Transportation Law Update, August 2014 — Pennsylvania: Technology in Trucking Cases

PENNSYLVANIA: Technology in Trucking Cases. By Kevin L. Hall. Two recent decisions involving the use of technology likely foreshadow the nature of evidence in motor vehicle accident cases.

  TLUV15N5.pdf

Transportation Law Update, Volume 15, Number 2

NEW YORK: Accident in New York State Requires Filing of MV-104 Form. By Gary N. Stewart. The State of New York has a MANDATORY requirement that a state-issued form be prepared and signed by the driver and submitted to the state within ten (10) days of just about any accident that occurs in the State of New York.

  TLUV15N2.pdf

Transportation Law Update, March 2014 — PENNSYLVANIA: Defense Verdict: Smoke & Mirrors

PENNSYLVANIA: Defense Verdict: Smoke & Mirrors, by Gary N. Stewart. ABA JOURNAL: The Old One – Philly firm’s history dates back to Ben Franklin – article on Rawle & Henderson in February 2014 ABA Journal.

  TLUV15N1.pdf

Nigel Greene participates in DriveCam trucking conference in California

Nigel A. Greene, a partner in the Philadelphia office of Rawle & Henderson, participated in the “DriveCam Powered by Lytx User Group” trucking conference February 24 to 26, 2014 in La Jolla, California. The conference focused on the use of on-board camera technology in legal cases.

>

Transportation Law Update, Volume 14, Number 9

AV PREEMINENT. Rawle & Henderson transportation attorneys Timothy J. Abeel and Robert A. Fitch recently received Martindale-Hubbell’s AV Preeminent® rating, the highest rating given by Martindale-Hubbell’s® Peer Review Ratings™ system.

  TLUV14N9.pdf

PENNTRUX, November 2013 – Pennsylvania: Punitive Damages and the Handheld GPS

Judge Terrance R. Nealon of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, (Scranton) Pennsylvania recently issued a 20-page opinion granting our Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and dismissing claims of punitive damages against a driver and his employer for the use of a handheld GPS at an intersectional accident in Steven Rockwell v. Glenn Knott and New Prime, Inc., C.C.P. No: 12-CV-1114.

  PENNTRUX_Nov_2013.pdf

Transportation Law Update, PENNSYLVANIA: IS YOUR TRUCK DRIVER A “PROFESSIONAL DRIVER”? – Chapter Two

PENNSYLVANIA: IS YOUR TRUCK DRIVER A “PROFESSIONAL DRIVER”? – Chapter Two. By Gary N. Stewart and David R. Chludzinski. In 2011 we wrote that the law in Pennsylvania, as well as numerous other jurisdictions, is that there is no different or higher standard of care for a truck driver than any other motorist. (TLU, Vol. 12, No. 2, IS YOUR TRUCK DRIVER A “PROFESSIONAL DRIVER”?)

  TLUV14N8.pdf

TIDA Fall 2013 Newsletter: PA: Punitive Damages and the Handheld GPS

Judge Terrance R. Nealon of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, (Scranton) Pennsylvania recently issued a 20-page opinion granting the defense Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and dismissing claims of punitive damages against a driver and his employer for the use of a handheld GPS at an intersectional accident in Steven Rockwell v. Glenn Knott and New Prime, Inc., C.C.P. No: 12-CV-1114.

  TIDA_Fall_2013_Newsletter.pdf

Transportation Law Update, Volume 14, Number 1

PENNSYLVANIA: Towing and Towing Storage Facility Standards Act, Part II

  TLUV14N1.pdf

TIDA Winter 2012 Newsletter: PA: Towing and Towing Storage Facility Standards Act

By Gary N. Stewart and Brian A. McCall. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett recently signed into law the Towing and Towing Storage Facility Standards Act. The law became effective September 3, 2012.

  TIDA_WINTER_2012_NEWSLETTER.pdf

Transportation Law Update, Volume 13, Number 9

PENNSYLVANIA: Towing and Towing Storage Facility Standards Act. By Gary N. Stewart and Brian A. McCall. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett recently signed into law the Towing and Towing Storage Facility Standards Act. Prior to the passage of the Towing and Towing Storage Facility Standards Act, Pennsylvania’s towing industry – including tow-truck operators and storage facilities – was unregulated, which left all motorists open to being victimized by inflated towing and storage charges, difficulties involving inspection, and refusals to release property without invoice payment.

  TLUV13N9.pdf

Transportation Law Update, Volume 13, Number 8

PENNSYLVANIA: PUNITIVE DAMAGES - "Don't Give Up the Ship". By Gary N. Stewart and Brian A. McCall. Pennsylvania law provides that “punitive damages are an extreme remedy available only in the most exceptional circumstances.” Generally when assessing the propriety of the imposition of punitive damages, the state of mind of the actor is vital.

  TLU_V13N8.pdf

Claims Quorum, August 2012: New York: Random Drug Tests—Potential Liability

By Robert A. Fitch and David B. Sherman. Department of Transportation regulations deem random drug testing necessary to ensure that commercial motor vehicle operators perform their duties in the safest possible manner. However, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn) recently issued a decision that clearly warns the trucking industry of potential liability arising from a company’s failure to provide drivers with precise procedural instructions for random drug tests, and of the need to promptly inform United States Investigations Services (USIS) of any unfavorable test results.

  Claims_Quorum_-_August_2012.pdf

Trucking Industry Defense Assn. Summer 2012 Newsletter: NY: Random Drug Tests–Potential Liability

By Robert A. Fitch and David B. Sherman. Department of Transportation regulations deem random drug testing necessary to ensure that commercial motor vehicle operators perform their duties in the safest possible manner. However, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn) recently issued a decision that clearly warns the trucking industry of potential liability arising from a company’s failure to provide drivers with precise procedural instructions for random drug tests, and of the need to promptly inform United States Investigations Services (USIS) of any unfavorable test results.

  TIDA_Summer_2012_Newsletter.pdf

Rawle’s Reports, Volume 16, Number 7

Rawle & Henderson LLP is proud to announce that 15 attorneys were named 2012 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers by Law & Politics and the publishers of Philadelphia Magazine.

  RR_V16_N7.pdf

Transportation Law Update, Volume 13, Number 6

PENNSYLVANIA: DEFENSE VERDICT. By: Nigel A. Greene. “The jury has reached a verdict.” The message came by way of a phone call from the courtroom. Fifteen minutes later, we sat in the courtroom waiting for the jury to return and record the verdict. The events leading up to this moment took place over three years ago. On August 5, 2008, at 11:17 a.m., a paratransit van was driving south on Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  TLUV13N6.pdf

Transportation Law Update, Volume 13, Number 5

HARRISBURG: OF COUNSEL. Rawle & Henderson LLP is pleased to announce that Diane B. Carvell has been named Of Counsel to the Firm. Ms. Carvell resides in our Harrisburg office, and she received her law degree in 1996 from Dickinson School of Law where she was the recipient of the Golub Foundation Graduate Scholarship and the Sandor Yelon Award.

>

Trucking Industry Defense Assn. Spring 2012 Newsletter: PA/CT: Log Violations Before Restart

By Gary N. Stewart and David R. Chludzinski. Frequently, plaintiffs bring liability claims directly against a trucking company for the negligent hiring, supervision, monitoring, instructing and entrusting of the driver of the involved tractor-trailer. More often than not, these claims go beyond the boilerplate negligent operation of the truck and are attempts to prove or bolster a claim for punitive damages.

  TIDA_Spring_2012_Log_Viol.pdf

NJMTA Feb 2012 Bulletin: PA/CT Log Violations Before Restart

By Gary N. Stewart and David R. Chludzinski
Frequently, plaintiffs bring liability claims directly against a trucking company for the negligent hiring, supervision, monitoring, instructing and entrusting of the driver of the involved tractor-trailer. More often than not, these claims go beyond the boilerplate negligent operation of the truck and are attempts to prove or bolster a claim for punitive damages.

  NJMTA_February_Bulletin_2012.pdf

Transportation Law Update, Volume 13, Number 3

PENNSYLVANIA: GOOD AND BAD. By: Diane B. Carvell. The “Good” and the “Bad” in Pennsylvania for trucking companies was evidenced recently in a memorandum opinion by U.S. District Court Judge James Munley in the Middle District of Pennsylvania (Scranton).

  TLUV13_N3.pdf

Transportation Law Update, Volume 13, Number 2

NEW YORK: RANDOM DRUG TESTS: POTENTIAL LIABILITY. By: Robert A. Fitch and David B. Sherman. Department of Transportation regulations deem random drug testing necessary to ensure that commercial motor vehicle operators perform their duties in the safest possible manner.

  TLUV13N2.pdf

Transportation Law Update, Volume 13, Number 1

PENNSYLVANIA / CONNECTICUT: Log Violations Before Restart. By: Gary N. Stewart and David R. Chludzinski. Frequently, plaintiffs bring liability claims directly against a trucking company for the negligent hiring, supervision, monitoring, instructing and entrusting of the driver of the involved tractor-trailer.

  TLUV13_N1.pdf

Commercial Motor Vehicle Brochure

The firm defends commercial motor vehicles and their insurers in accident litigation, insurance coverage disputes and freight claims.

  CMV_Brochure_Sept_2017.pdf

Transportation Law Update, Volume 12, Number 8

PENNSYLVANIA 2011 SUPER LAWYERS. Rawle & Henderson LLP is pleased to announce that Timothy J. Abeel and Gary N. Stewart were named 2011 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers by Law & Politics and the publishers of Philadelphia Magazine.

>

Transportation Law Update, Volume 12, Number 6

PENNSYLVANIA - 1% RULE DEAD! - By: Gary N. Stewart. On June 28, 2011, Governor Tom Corbett signed tort reform legislation in Pennsylvania, limiting liability for negligence of defendants in certain civil court cases, such as trucking/motor vehicle actions.

>

Transportation Law Update, Volume 12, Number 4

NEW YORK - DEFENSE VERDICT. Simon v. Abele Tractor & Equipment, et al., Supreme Court of New York for Westchester County, NY

  TLUV12N4.pdf

Transportation Law Update, Volume 12, Number 3

NEW YORK - LOSS OF FUTURE INHERITANCE - By: Robert A. Fitch and James R. Callan. In the pending case of Curtin v. J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., Rawle & Henderson attorneys Robert A. Fitch and James R. Callan successfully appealed the trial court's decision excluding from evidence a buy-sell agreement executed by plaintiff's decedent.

  TLUV12N3.pdf

Transportation Law Update, Volume 12, Number 1

PHILADELPHIA - JUDICIAL HELLHOLE - By: Nigel Greene. The ninth annual survey conducted by the American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) ranked Philadelphia first on its list of "judicial hellholes."

  TLUV12N1.pdf

Rawle’s Reports, Volume 14, Number 10

COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE - CONNECTICUT - IN THE RECORDS - By: Gary N. Stewart. On June 4, 2005 at about 5:00 a.m., Rolando Vega was returning home with his family from a night at a casino. The weather was clear and alcohol was not a factor.

  RRV14N10.pdf

News & Events

Pennsylvania: Defense Verdict in Motor Vehicle Case of Mintscheff v Hersey, CCP, York County, PA

09/14/11

Read more »

2011 Super Lawyers

08/11/11

2011 Super Lawyers, 07/21/11. Rawle & Henderson LLP is proud to announce that 16 attorneys were named 2011 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers by Law & Politics and the publishers of Philadelphia Magazine.

Read more »

American College of Transportation Attorneys

06/15/10

AMERICAN COLLEGE OF TRANSPORTATION ATTORNEYS - Timothy J. Abeel, Chair of Rawle & Henderson’s Commercial Motor Vehicle group, is a founding member of the newly formed American College of Transportation Attorneys (ACTA).

Read more »