A Carbon County jury panel found a Lehighton couple negligent for injuries sustained by a woman who fell at their home.
The panel made its decision after listening to three days of testimony in the case of Eliza Klecha, 1567 Green St., Lehighton, against Wioletta and Jaroslaw Mystkowski, of 1585 Green St., Lehighton. Klecha and Wioletta Mystkowski are sisters. The trial began with jury selection of Monday, Feb. 6. Testimony was given over a three-day period and the trial concluded with the jury verdict on Friday, Feb. 10.
Klecha filed suit against her sister and brother-in-law, and the defendants' construction company, Jerry M. Construction Inc., on Aug. 8, 2007. The suit was the result of an incident that occurred on Aug. 20, 2005, at the defendants' home.
The panel found that the Mystkowski's were negligent for injuries suffered by Klecha in the fall. The panel said the couple were each 40 percent liable and that the plaintiff was 20 percent liable for the injuries she sustained. The jury ruled Jerry M. Construction Inc. was not liable for any damages.
Presiding Judge Steven R. Serfass bifurcated the case meaning that the panel only had to decide negligence. A new jury panel will be selected at a later date to determine the amount of damages Klecha should receive.
The suit stated that on Aug. 20, 2005, about 10 p.m. the plaintiff was visiting her sister and brother-in-law and entered the home through the front door. Once inside she remembered she had left her laptop computer in her car and went to retrieve it. She exited through the back porch area, the suit stated, as it was the most common way used to gain ingress and egress to the home.
The suit charged, "unbeknownst to plaintiff, at the time prior to 10 p.m. on Aug. 20, 2005, employees of defendant, Jerry M. Construction Inc. at the direction of the defendants, Wioletta and Jaroslaw Mystkowski, had removed the rear porch to the home, as a result, Plaintiff Eliza Klecha fell approximately 10 feet to the ground causing the Plaintiff to suffer injuries and damages."
The injuries and damages were detailed in the suit.
The defendants claimed that Klecha knew, or should have known, that the porch area had been altered or removed based on what she observed in entering the home.
No date has been set for the trial to determine damages.