Friday, November 10, 2023

Availability of Zoom Litigation Calls Into Question The Continuing Validity of the Doctrine of Forum Non Conveniens

In the case of Brooks v. Griffy, No. 22-CV-3250 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Oct. 18, 2023 Nealon, J.), Judge Terrance R. Nealon of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas addressed a Petition for Transfer under the doctrine of forum non conveniens and denied the same.

In this case, a Plaintiff from Chester County Pennsylvania, who was involved in an accident with a Lancaster County tractor-trailer driver in Montgomery County, filed a lawsuit against the driver and his employer, which maintains its principal place of business in Idaho and had a single facility in Lancaster County, in the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas.

The Defendant driver and his employer filed a forum non conveniens motion seeking to transfer the case to Montgomery County pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. 1006(d)(1).

In his Opinion, Judge Nealon addressed the current status of the law regarding this doctrine and noted that the law had been chipped away at by recent decisions calling into question the continued validity of the arguments made under this doctrine, especially in light of the need to show that the jurisdiction chosen by the Plaintiff was oppressive and vexatious.

The court pointed to the continued use of advanced communication technologies in litigation matters, such as Zoom, has served to substantially lessen any burdens or hardships that may be associated with participating in any given litigation at any location.

After reviewing the latest appellate law on the issues presented, Judge Nealon noted that the affidavits in support of the Petition filed by the Defendant did not support the granting of the motion.

Judge Terrrence R. Nealon
Lackawanna County

Judge Nealon noted that, although the Defendant driver and his employer produced affidavits attempting to show undue burden and hardship with the litigation remaining in the chosen forum, the Defendants failed to furnish a general statement of the proffered testimony of a key witness to the defense. The court found that the Defendants had not established that the Defendants chosen forum was oppressive or vexatious.

As such, the Defendant’s Motion to Transfer the case to Montgomery County based upon the doctrine of forum non conveniens was denied.

Proud to note that Judge Nealon cited and quoted from an article of mine in this regard on this topic. See Op. at p. 13.

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

Source of image:  Photo by Anna Shvets at

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