Sunday, March 18, 2012

Recent Venue Cases Out of Superior Court

In Kappe v. Lentz, Cantor, Massey, Ltd, No. 614 EDA 2011, 2012 PA Super 48 (Pa. Super. 2/28/2012), the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed the trial court's transfer of a matter from Philadelphia County to Chester County, even though the incident and the majority of the parties involved were from Chester County.

The Superior Court panel appeared to based their decision, in part, on the fact that the defendant conducted 1.7% of their business in Philadelphia County.

In another recent venue decision out of the Superior Court in the case of Wimble v. Parx Casino, NO. 941 EDA 2011, 2012 PA SUPER 62 (Pa. Super.  3/9/2012, Lazarus, J.), the court addressed a case involving a corporation that which had its principal office located in Bucks County which was also where the underlying incident in this litigation occurred.

A question arose as to whether separate subsidiaries of the Defendant also involved in gambling and located in Philadelphia County constituted that Defendant conducting business within Philadelphia County. The Court cited to the case of Purcell v. Bryn Mawr Hospital, 579 A.2d 1282 (Pa. 1990), for the test of whether a corporation “regularly conducts business” in a county for venue purposes.  That test involved the application of the “quality and quantity” analysis of business contacts.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Purcell case outlined the quality/quantity venue test, as follows: “Quality of acts means those directly furthering, or essential to, corporate objects; they do not include incidental acts. Quantity means those acts which are so continuous and sufficient to be general or habitual. The acts of the corporation must be distinguished: those in aid of a main purpose are collateral and incidental, while those necessary to its existence to its existence are direct.”

In Wimble, the Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s change of venue from Philadelphia to Bucks County on the basis that the other subsidiaries, even if operating in Philadelphia County, were to be considered as separate and distinct corporations for the purpose of establishing proper venue.

The Kappe decision can be viewed here.

Wimble can be viewed here
I send thanks to Attorney Walt McClatchy of McClatchy and Associates out of Philadelphia for bringing these venue cases to my attention.

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