Jury Vindicates PPL Electric in Multi-Million Dollar Contract Case

On January 30, 2013, a Northampton County Jury returned with a defense verdict in favor of PPL Electric Utilities (“PPL Electric”) and against the plaintiff, Ashley Development Corporation (“Ashley”). Fitzpatrick Lentz & Bubba, P.C. Shareholder Joseph S. D’Amico, Jr., represented PPL Electric throughout the three years of litigation, injunction hearings and the eventual seven-day jury trial. Mr. D’Amico was assisted by Gretchen L. Geisser, an associate with the Firm.

Suit was originally commenced by Ashley in January 2010 in an attempt to enforce a multimillion dollar Agreement of Sale involving 164 acres in Bethlehem Township and to prevent PPL Electric from calling a $500,000 letter of credit that Ashley had provided as an nonrefundable deposit. Ashley also attempted to claim lost profit damages in excess of $17 million.

The Honorable Anthony Beltrami of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County presided over the trial. Following 2 ½ hours of deliberations, the jury of 12 found PPL did not breach, but rather that Ashley was liable to PPL Electric for breaching the agreement. In addition, Judge Beltrami entered a nonsuit (i.e., summary dismissal) as to Ashley’s claims for fraud and negligent misrepresentation and also found in favor of PPL Electric on several equitable theories reserved for a decision by the Court.  The Court will schedule a hearing to determine the amount of fees and expenses to be awarded PPL Electric as the prevailing party in the suit pursuant to the parties’ contract. Ashley was represented by John J. Jacko and Chris Dolotosky of Fellheimer & Eichen LLP of Philadelphia and Erv McClain of McClain Law Offices of Bethlehem.

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