Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Jurisdictional Issue Found To Have Been Waived


In the case of Murray v. Am. LaFrance, LLC., No. 2020 Pa. Super. 149 (Pa. Super. June 25, 2020) (Op. by Bowes, J.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court that the Plaintiffs had waived the effort to establish general personal jurisdiction over a Defendant based upon the Defendant’s registration as a foreign corporation in Pennsylvania.  

The appellate Court found that the Plaintiff failed to raise the issue in response to the Defendant’s Preliminary Objections on the issues presented. 

This matter arose out of claims by the Plaintiff against a foreign corporation for negligence and strict products liability under claims that the Plaintiff suffered injuries due to excessive sound exposure from fire engine sirens that the Defendant company, which was a Delaware company, had manufactured in Illinois, which was where its principal place of business was located. 

The Defendant filed Preliminary Objections to personal jurisdiction and submitted documents to show that only four (4) of its employees resided in Pennsylvania and that only 3.5% of its total sales in 2015 were made to Pennsylvania buyers. 

The trial court had sustained the Preliminary Objections and dismissed the claim after finding that the foreign corporation’s alleged contacts with Pennsylvania were not so continuous and symptomatic to support the exercise of general personal jurisdiction. 

On appeal, the Plaintiffs argued that general personal jurisdiction over the Defendant was proper given the Defendant’s registration as a foreign corporation in Pennsylvania. However, given that the Plaintiff had failed to raise this issue at the trial court level, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s ruling on the separate basis that the issues presented had not been preserved for appeal. 

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source: “Digest of Recent Cases.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (July 6, 2020).

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