Thursday, August 30, 2018

Judge Mariani of Federal Middle District Court Reviews Law of Personal Jurisdiction in Federal Court

In the case of Burnside v. Peterbilt Motors Co., 3:17-CV-2121 (M.D. Pa. June 28, 2018 Mariani, J.), the court granted a Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss based upon jurisdictional objections.  

This products liability claim arose out of an incident during which the Plaintiff was injured when a bobtail truck he was using began leaking propane and then caught fire.

Judge Mariani provided a detailed review of the current standards for properly finding jurisdiction over a foreign defendant in a Pennsylvania federal court matter.

In this matter, the court stated that the Plaintiffs did not allege that the Defendant directed any activities to Pennsylvania or sent the product at issue to Pennsylvania.  The court also noted that the Plaintiff did not even allege how the product came to be in Pennsylvania.  

The court ruled that a Plaintiff cannot establish personal jurisdiction over a Defendant through the stream of commerce theory under the facts of this case.  

As such, the court granted the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss but allowed the Plaintiff to conduct limited jurisdictional discovery before the case was completely dismissed.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.  The Court's companion Order can be viewed HERE.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Reeds Smith law firm in Philadelphia for bringing this case to my attention.  

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