Change of venue ordered in tractor pull injury suit
A Somerset County farmer's claim that he was seriously injured and disabled at a popular East Huntingdon Township antique tractor pull almost two years ago will be heard in a Westmoreland County courtroom.
A personal injury suit filed a year ago by Douglas J. Hillegass, 56, and Debra A. Hillegass of Berlin against Paul Zitney, 70, of Vanderbilt after an accident on June 18, 2010, at the Zitney Tractor Pull was formally transferred Tuesday to Westmoreland Common Pleas Court in Greensburg.
Somerset County Judge David C. Klementik recently ordered a change of venue because the accident occurred at the Fort Allen Track near Scottdale in East Huntingdon Township.
The lawsuit describes Zitney, an antique farm equipment aficionada, as the promoter of the tractor pull.
About 10 p.m. on the evening of the event, Hillegass, who is acquainted with Zitney, was invited by Zitney to leave the stands, where he was a spectator, and go down to the event grounds where the tractors compete, according to the lawsuit.
Hillegass said he approached Zitney's tractor and sled as instructed and “was standing, facing and speaking with Mr. Zitney.”
“At this time, upon the direction of (Zitney), the tractor suddenly and without warning lurched forward ... with a tremendous amount of force and speed,” the lawsuit states.
Hillegass maintains in the lawsuit that the tractor and sled knocked him to the ground and ran over and crushed his lower legs.
The lawsuit maintains that Zitney “owed a duty of care to Hillegass to ensure his safety from foreseeable risks of harm.”
Hillegass noted that Zitney charged an admission fee for spectators to the event held on property used by the Fort Allen Antique Farm Equipment Association.
The lawsuit alleges that Hillegass required extensive surgery and hospitalization after the accident and still suffers pain, and “his general health, strength and vitality have been impaired.”
Debra Hillegass is seeking damages, according to the lawsuit filed by Hillegass' attorney, David L. Fuchs of Pittsburgh.
Zitney declined comment on the lawsuit Tuesday because it is still being litigated.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- School lunch group hopes to revise rules it calls impractical, too restrictive
- Western Pa. students bristle at changing menu choices
- Puppies’ eyes glued shut, South Huntingdon animal shelter says
- Indiana County school employee allegedly showed 2 students an inappropriate photo
- Harrold Middle School students hit new high with food drive
- Keystone Bakery closes Greensburg store
- Excela, Pitt-Greensburg team on legacy videos for those in twilight of lives
- Greensburg still fighting waterlogged Lynch Field, may add drainage
- Sounds of Christmas coming to Fay-West region
- Dining at Applebee’s helps Jacobs Creek Area Faith in Action
- Mt. Pleasant plan has no call for tax increase