Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Sufficient Quantity and Quality of Contacts Found to Render Philadelphia County as a Proper Venue

In the case of Troseth v. Carson Helicopters Holding Co. Inc., March Term, No. 1222 (C.P. Phila. Co. Aug. 24, 2022 Kennedy, J.), the court ruled that venue was proper over all of the Defendants in this matter because one of the Defendants had sufficient quantity and quality of contacts so as to qualify Philadelphia County as a proper venue. The court additionally held that venue was proper for the remaining Defendant under Pa. R.C.P. 1006(c)(1), which states that, where venue is proper for one (1) Defendant, it is proper for all Defendants.

In this matter, the Plaintiff was injured in a helicopter crash.

The Defendants asserted that Philadelphia County was an improper venue for the suit under Pa. R.C.P. 2179, which governs proper venue for corporate Defendants. The Defendant filed Preliminary Objections. The trial court overruled the Preliminary Objections and the Defendants then moved for an appellate certification of the Orders so that they could immediately appeal the ruling to the extent that it involved a substantial venue issue.

As to the quality of contacts, the court noted that the corporate Defendant’s acts within the county must be those acts directly furthering or essential to their corporate objective. In this regard, the court held that the helicopter manufacturer was in the business of manufacturing, refurbishing, and selling helicopters, and had contracts with manufacturers in northern Philadelphia. The court found that these contacts were of sufficient quality relative to the venue question.

With regard to the quantity test, the court noted that a Defendant’s acts must be sufficiently continuous so as to be considered habitual for venue purposes. The court additionally referenced precedent finding that venue was properly established where just 1-2% of a company’s gross sales were located within the venue jurisdiction.

After reviewing the record before it, the court noted that the helicopter manufacturer had specifically contracted with a Philadelphia manufacturer to produce the interior materials and items for helicopters. The court found that this evidence satisfied the quantity prong of the test.

The court also noted that the Defendant helicopter manufacturer also had other contacts in Philadelphia County and used Philadelphia airports to transport their helicopters.

Given that the court found that venue was proper as to the helicopter corporate Defendant, the court noted that, under Pa. R.C.P. 1006, venue was also proper for the other Defendants.

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

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Nov. 22, 2022).

Source of image:  Photo by Olly Peters on www.unsplash.com.

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