Jeffrey L. Oster was quoted in the April 20, 2022 edition of Transport Topics for the article “Pennsylvania Lawyer Employs Creative Strategy in Crash Case”. The article discussed a fatal crash between a tractor-trailer and a passenger vehicle in which the tractor-trailer sustained property damage but the car’s driver was killed. After an investigation, police determined that fault for the accident was shared between both drivers. The defense attorney for the tractor-trailer company employed the pre-emptive (but seldom-used) strategy referred to as “sue them first,” when parties that share fault for an accident rush to file a lawsuit in a specific court jurisdiction that is either plaintiff-friendly or defense-oriented in terms of jury awards.
Providing context about the case, Jeffrey discussed the benefits of securing the right jurisdiction. “In Pennsylvania, I would much rather try a case before a jury in relatively conservative Dauphin County, near Harrisburg, over uber-liberal Philadelphia County because, statistically, any award potentially entered against my client would be lower in Dauphin County.”
Jeffrey warned, however, that there are risks. “Suing a potential plaintiff pretty much guarantees counterclaims lodged against the motor carrier in a case where, in theory, the plaintiff may have originally had no intention of suing,” he said. “Therefore, by forcing the plaintiff to court and encouraging him or her to countersue, you are causing the motor carrier to incur a possibly avoidable claim against its insurance policy and likely face an increase in premiums — especially if the trucking company is regularly forcing others into litigation.”
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