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PPL files two civil suits over property damage

By Len Righi, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Dec 27 2012 04:27:16 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 27 2012 04:32:24 PM CST
ALLENTOWN, a. -

PPL has filed two separate lawsuits to recover almost $10,000 in damage done by heavy equipment operators to the Allentown-based utility's property in Bethlehem and near the Lehigh Valley International Airport.

Civil suits were filed Monday in Northampton County Court against Moravian Village, 526 Wood St., Bethlehem, and backhoe operator Bert Mass and Cumberland Valley Corp., 4915 Gettysburg Road, Mechanicsburg, Cumberland Co., and backhoe operator Shawn Braddock.

The suit against Moravian Village says Mass was employed by the non-profit retirement community when he struck and damaged an overhead facility owned by PPL in the vicinity of 551 Morningstar Lane, Bethlehem, on Jan. 7, 2011.

The suit says Mass was driving the backhoe owned by Moravian Village "at an excessive rate of speed" and "in a reckless and careless manner."

PPL is asking a judge to order Moravian Village and Mass to repay $4,359.80 in damage and attorney fees, according the suit.

The suit against Cumberland Valley Corp. says Braddock was careless when he struck and damaged underground cables owned by PPL while digging with a backhoe in the vicinity of 549 Willowbrook Road, Hanover Township, Lehigh Co., on April 4, 2011.

The suit says Braddock violated the Underground Utility Line Protection Law by continuing to dig, even though the markings identifying the line's location were not clear.

Braddock also risked catastrophe when he severed an underground gas line without hand-digging a test hole to identify the line's location, the suit says.

PPL is asking in its suit for $5,083.56 in damages and attorney fees, as well as punitive damages and interest.

WFMZ.com reached out to Moravian Village and Cumberland Valley Corp. for comment, but our calls were not returned.