No Felony Conviction Recovery Rule

Date: February 28, 2009

Bad Bart and his friend Sticky Fingers Fred were walking down Main Street Hawley when they observed a pizza delivery truck unattended with the motor running. Bart and Fred figured they would have a little fun and jumped into the car with Sticky Fingers Fred driving. Sticky Fingers Fred had previously had his driver\’s license revoked because of numerous convictions of reckless driving. Consistent with previous conduct, Fred commenced to drive the stolen vehicle up onto the sidewalk crashing into a utility pole.

Both men were convicted of multiple counts and sent to the local prison. Sticky Fingers Fred considered himself a jailhouse lawyer and convinced Bad Bart to sue for the injuries Bart sustained at the time of the collision. Bart decided to sue the delivery driver based upon the fact that the driver left the vehicle unattended with the engine running as well as the delivery driver\’s employer.

Question: Does Bart have any case?

Answer: There exists a “No Felony Conviction Recovery” rule. This rule bars a felon as a matter of public policy from benefiting from his own criminal acts. It exists to discourage courts from assisting convicted felons from collecting damages that would not have occurred absent the criminal conviction. Bad Bart was not only injured because of Sticky Fingers Fred but also got some bad advice as well.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.

Joe Price
Attorney Joe Price is a seasoned Trial Lawyer serving Northeast, Central and Southeast Pennsylvania for the past forty (40) years. He has handled serious personal injury cases in courts throughout the Federal system including New Jersey and New York. Attorney Price is A.V. Rated by Martindale Hubble. He is Board Certified in Civil Practice by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1996.