Thursday, September 16, 2010

Recent Post-Koken Decision on Venue From Judge Van Jura in Luzerne County

Judge Joseph Van Jura of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas recently issued an August 16, 2010 Order in the post-Koken case of Wissinger v. Brady, Laubach, and State Farm, No. 3792-CIVIL-2010 (Luz. Co. Aug. 16, 2010, Van Jura, J.), granting the Preliminary Objections of a third party defendant asserting improper venue under Pa. R.C.P. 1006.

The plaintiff involved in this matter was from Northumberland County. The accident occurred in Northumberland County. The tortfeasor defendants were from Montour County.

Generally speaking, proper venue for a car accident case is in the county where the accident occurred or where the defendants reside or were served.

Although the plaintiff was apparently arguing that suit could be filed in Luzerne County on account of the fact that State Farm did business in that county, the third party tortfeasor argued that there was no joint and several liability between the third party defendant and the UIM carrier to support venue in Luzerne County.

As noted, Judge Van Jura granted the tortfeasor defendant's preliminary objections and ordered the case transferred to Northumberland County. Plaintiff’s counsel has filed a Notice of Appeal from this decision. Perhaps a Rule 1925 opinion may be forthcoming from the trial court.

I thank the prevailing defense attorney, Aaron Decker from the Plains, Pennsylvania office of Snyder & Associates, in-house counsel for Nationwide, for forwarding this Order to my attention.

Anyone desiring a copy of this Order may contact me at dancummins@comcast.net.

I will add this case to the post-Koken scorecard in short order - - I invite you to check out the post-Koken scorecard by scrolling down the right hand column and clicking on the date noted under “Post-Koken scorecard.”

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