Zielinski v. Philadelphia Piers, Inc.
139 F. Supp. 408 (E.D. Pa. 1956)
- ¶ was injured by a forklift driven by Sandy Johnson. The forklift had the initials PPI stenciled on it.
- In ¶‘s complaint, (paragraph 5) he alleges that the forklift driven by Sandy Johnson hit ¶, and the forklift was owned, operated, and controlled by r and his agents.
- r denied the entire paragraph.
- The truth was that the forklift was leased to Carload Contractors and Sandy Duncan has been transferred to CC’s payroll for over a year.
- Apparently Sandy Johnson did not know about this
- When the complaint arrived, r forwarded to its insurance, knowing it was Carload who operated and leased the facility, but said nothing to ¶.
- The statute of limitations to sue Carload has run.
Whether the r violated Rule 8 (b) because they did not specifically deny that they controlled the forklift, and did not alert ¶ to their mistake.
Due to their violation of Rule 8 (b), the r will not be able to deny agency because otherwise the ¶ would be deprived of his right of action due to the fact that the statute of limitations to sue Carload had passed.
If a r knowingly misleads ¶ about agency in the answer and this misleading information would deprive ¶ of right of action, the r is required to admit agency.
Rule(s) of Law:
“Under circumstances of case wherein plaintiff sued wrong defendant supposing him to be employer of allegedly negligent vehicle driver, and portion of defendant’s answer directed to complaint paragraph alleging the agency was inadequate to comply with rules or to apprise plaintiff of plaintiff’s error, and defendant’s answers to interrogatories and driver’s pretrial testimony were misleading because of inaccuracy, defendant was equitably estopped to deny agency after time limitation barred action against true employer. 12 P.S.Pa. § 34; Fed.Rules Civ.Proc. rules 8(b), 16, 28 U.S.C.A.; 18 U.S.C.A. § 401.”
‘A party shall state in short and plain terms his defenses to each claim asserted and shall admit or deny the averments upon which the adverse party relies. * * * Denials shall fairly meet the substance of the averments denied. When a pleader intends in good faith to deny only a part or a qualification of an averment, he shall specify so much of it as is true and material and shall deny only the remainder.’
“Under circumstances where an improper and ineffective answer has been filed, the Pennsylvania courts have consistently held that an allegation of agency in the complaint requires a statement to the jury that agency is admitted where an attempt to amend the answer is made after the expiration of the period of limitation. See Burns v. Joseph Flaherty Co., 1924, 278 Pa. 579, 582-583, 123 A. 496; Boles v. Federal Electric Co., 1926, 89 Pa.Super. 160, 163-164.”
(b) Defenses; Form of Denials. A party shall state in short and plain terms the party’s defenses to each claim asserted and shall admit or deny the averments upon which the adverse party relies. If a party is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of an averment, the party shall so state and this has the effect of a denial. Denials shall fairly meet the substance of the averments denied. When a pleader intends in good faith to deny only a part or a qualification of an averment, the pleader shall specify so much of it as is true and material and shall deny only the remainder. Unless the pleader intends in good faith to controvert all the averments of the preceding pleading, the pleader may make denials as specific denials of designated averments or paragraphs or may generally deny all the averments except such designated averments or paragraphs as the pleader expressly admits; but, when the pleader does so intend to controvert all its averments, including averments of the grounds upon which the court’s jurisdiction depends, the pleader may do so by general denial subject to the obligations set forth in Rule 11.
* Money is coming from same insurance company
* If the right party knows you are suing the wrong person, they are forced to come forward.
* Denials must meet substance of complaint.