Attorneys for the family of Anthony Coletta, who was seriously injured in a race accident last November at Harrah's Philadelphia, revealed Monday morning they have filed a lawsuit against the racetrack, alleging the track surface was "dangerously defective" and posed a threat to the safety of the drivers and their horses and that track officials knew of the issues two years ago.
In the complain filed Monday morning on behalf of Mr. Coletta by his attorneys from Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C., it is alleged that the track owner-operator, despite knowing of the hazardous conditions, failed to take corrective measures because it did not want to spend the necessary time or money.
The following is a press release issued Monday by the law firm representing Coletta and his family:
According to the Complaint (Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, 002714), "Prior to Anthony Coletta's injuries (November 17, 2013), Harrah's Philadelphia and Caesars failed to correct known defects in the racetrack and instead put the lives of the professional harness drivers at risk.” It added, "Harrah's Philadelphia and Caesars failed to take any action with respect to assessing and/or redoing the track during the September 2013 racing season break, which was just two months prior to Anthony Coletta's injuries.”
Michael F. Barrett, one of Mr. Coletta's attorneys stated following the filing, "It is now clear, and asserted in the Complaint, that the track owners turned a blind eye when it came to track maintenance and they permitted an unreasonably dangerous condition to exist at the exact location where the chain-reaction accident began.”
Mr. Coletta, 31, suffered numerous fractures, brain and skull injuries as a direct result of being thrown from his sulky and then trampled. It was impossible for him to avoid the horse in front of him that stumbled on the defective surface, setting off the horrific accident. The one-time widely acclaimed driver remains hospitalized following several operations and is fully dependent on others for all forms of life care. The full extent of his head, brain, and associated injuries is detailed in the Complaint.
Joseph G. DeAngelo, Mr. Barrett's co-counsel, said the firm's pre-filing investigation disclosed that drivers at the track repeatedly tried to warn the owner-operator of the imminent danger and urgent need for repairs. "They knew there was an unreasonably dangerous condition because horses were routinely losing their footing. There is no question that this was an accident waiting to happen and that corrective actions were not seriously considered until after Mr. Coletta nearly died.”
Coletta's attorneys in January obtained a court order to permit a forensic investigation of the track surface.
Mr. Coletta's parents-guardians, Alfred (who watched what would be Anthony's final race) and Rosemary Coletta, of Hammonton, New Jersey, turned to the Firm on behalf of Anthony and the family to use all legal means necessary to determine what caused the accident, hold those responsible fully accountable for their actions, and ensure that no other drivers and their horses are put at risk.
"We look forward on behalf of Anthony and his family to presenting this case of corporate greed and indifference to a jury,” commented Robert J. Mongeluzzi, of SMBB.
The Complaint, seeking compensatory and punitive damages, names as defendants Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Caesars Entertainment Operating Corporation, Chester Downs and Marina, LLC D/B/A Harrah's Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack Inc., and Harrah's Chester Downs Management Co, LLC