Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Improper Venue Preliminary Objections Granted in Favor of Corporate Defendant

In the case of Morehart v. Germania Country Store & Lodge, LLC, No. CV-22-01040 (C.P. Lyc. Jan. 25, 2023 Carlucci, J.), the court granted a Defendant’s request to transfer a lawsuit to the county where the Plaintiff sustained injuries and where the Defendant corporation was headquartered.   

In this matter, the Plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the Defendant for injuries allegedly sustained when the Plaintiff allegedly fell while in one of the Defendant’s stores.   

The Plaintiff filed a lawsuit in Lycoming County.  The Defendant filed Preliminary Objections asserting that venue should be Potter County, where the injury was sustained and where the Defendant’s corporation was headquartered.   

The court reviewed the issue under Pa. R.C.P. 2179 and 1006(b) and noted that a personal injury action against the corporation or a similar entity may be brought in a county where the corporation regularly conducts business.   

The court further noted that, in determining where a corporation regularly conducts business, the court should consider the nature of the corporation’s actions in the county in terms of both the quantity and quality of those actions.   

Although the Plaintiff in this matter sought to bring a lawsuit in the county where the Defendant routinely traveled to purchase inventory, the court found this contact to be incidental rather than necessary to the Defendant’s purpose of operating a retail store.   

As such, the court granted the Defendant’s Preliminary Objections and order the matter to be transferred to the Court of Common Pleas of Potter County.   

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

Source:  “Digest of Recent Opinions.”  Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Feb. 28, 2023).

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