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Wrongful death lawsuit filed against Mansfield garage, owner

April 23, 2019

MANSFIELD — A civil lawsuit alleges a Mansfield business and its owner are negligent in the death of a Mansfield University student.

Earlier this month, the law firm of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin of Lansdale filed suit on behalf of the estate of Satiecka Walker Hearn, 24, against Paul W. Chamberlain and Chamberlain’s Garage for wrongful death.

According to the suit, the garage inspected Hearn’s 2008 Mazda 3 on Aug. 3, 2017. Seven days later, the vehicle left Dunkleberger Road, Rutland Township, and rolled over. Walker was ejected during the accident and died from her injuries.

The state inspection report, according to court documents, indicated the tires, steering and overall vehicle were in acceptable condition. It was later determined that the front tires were nearly bald, the steering was not working properly and the car was road tested.

According to Steven Barrett, chair of the firm’s personal injury team who filed the suit, said, “Drivers on Pennsylvania roads need to be able to trust that their vehicles are actually checked for all safety issues per state law when they go to a garage and pay for a state inspection. There should be no deaths of injuries suffered due to the gross negligence and reckless disregard of garage owners who profit from unacceptable inspection services. Inspection stations holds themselves out as being qualified to make sure that our cars are safe for operation. We all pay hard-earned money to mechanics who we rely on to protect us and the public at large. Cutting corners and then misrepresenting the true condition of a car not only breaches our trust, but effectively weaponizes our cars.”

According to police reports, Walker was traveling at an unsafe speed and was not using a seat belt. Additional reports state the front tires were worn to the point where the wire cord/belts were exposed. Police interviewed Chamberlain and reported that he said the tired tread depth was 6/32 of an inch and the tires must have been switched after the inspection.

The suit is filed on behalf of Walker’s survivors: Rakeem Hearn, Shalique Hearn and Kareem Shakira.
The suit is asking the court for judgement for violating the Pennsylvania Safety Standards, claim damages for Walker’s pain and suffering and anguish, for funeral, medical and burial expenses, and are seeking punitive damages.

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