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Conference Continuance Granted for Injury Action Against an Energy and a Steel Company

A lawsuit filed over the summer has been postponed before the trial even got started. Below, we’ll discuss the specifics of what this postponement entails and the type of suit that’s been filed.

The Lawsuit

George McNulty filed a lawsuit against two companies. The defendants are Kinder Morgan, Inc. (including any of its many operating arms) which is located in Houston, TX and USX Corporation which is based in Pittsburgh. While the latter is a steel company, the former is focused on energy.

The suit was filed on June 23rd and a Writ of Summons was served against the defendants shortly thereafter. The parties were then ordered to show up in court on July 24th so as to file their own complaints or suffer a Judgment of Non Pros.

On July 29th, the Writ of Summons was reissued.

Mr. McNulty is seeking more than $50,000 in damages and is being represented by Arthur L. Bugay of Galfand Berger, a firm in Philadelphia.

Continuance of Case Management

After the filing of any personal injury lawsuit, a case management conference needs to be held. With case management, it’s important that vital steps—the filing of a complaint, pre-trial motions, discovering, etc.—be held in a timely fashion. This is why strict timeframes are imposed for each.

During a case management conference, the court “checks in” to see if the parties involved have been able to settle any pertinent issues, need important information from each other, want to enter into a settlement or are ready to schedule a date for trial.

Given how essential this step is, it would make sense that courts would want to make sure it was handled correctly. Therefore, when a continuance is deemed necessary—as it obviously was in this case—it’s granted to ensure both sides show up to trial as ready as possible.

At this time, we don’t know why the continuation was deemed necessary. A case management statement needs to be filed by a certain deadline, both parties have to meet prior to the conference and then the conference itself is held. For whatever reason, some kind of delay kept one of those things from happening on time.

The Specific of Personal Injury

While we don’t know why the plaintiff brought his suit against the two companies mentioned as defendants, the fact that it’s a personal injury case means that Mr. McNulty blames them for some kind of pain and suffering he’s been through.

There are two main parts to a personal injury claim. You have liability and damages.

The first part refers to whether or not the defendant is guilty of some sort of action—or lack thereof—that left the plaintiff injured.

For example, if a neighbor left their fence open which allowed their dog to escape and eventually bite you, you could sue them for the personal injury you suffered. Your argument would be that their negligence in keeping that fence unlocked resulted in you getting hurt.

After liability is established, you have to then prove that you’re justified in seeking the amount of damages in your suit. Damages can cover a wide range of costs. Obviously, one of them would be your medical bills. However, you may have missed work as well. Maybe you need to undergo ongoing therapy, etc.

As you can imagine, many times, defendants are found liable of the personal injury, but pay a much smaller amount in damages than the plaintiff was pursuing.

It will definitely be some time before we find out whether or not Mr. McNulty’s lawsuit is effective. All we know at the moment is that the verdict will be postponed until after the conference can be completed.