top of page

News

Advertise Away, It Has Little to Do With Venue (PA)

March 10, 2017

Share to:

On March 8, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a lower court’s decision to transfer venue in <em><a href="http://blog.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Wyszynski-v.-Greenwood-Gaming-Entertainment-Inc.-Wyszynski-v.-Greenwood-Gaming-Entertainment-Inc..pdf">Wyszynski v. Greenwood Gaming &amp; Entertainment, Inc. Wyszynski v. Greenwood Gaming &amp; Entertainment, Inc.,</a></em>  The case arises out of an alleged slip and fall that Wyszynski suffered in the restroom of Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.
The complaint was originally filed in Philadelphia.  Defendant Greenwood Gaming &amp; Entertainment, Inc. (“Greenwood”) filed preliminary objections, arguing that venue was improper and that the case should have been filed in Bucks County.  Greenwood argued that it did not regularly conduct business in Philadelphia.  The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas granted Greenwood’s preliminary objections and transferred the case to Bucks County.  Wyszynski then appealed, arguing that Greenwood advertises heavily in Philadelphia.
In Pennsylvania, a plaintiff’s choice of forum is given great weight.  An action against a corporation, in Pennsylvania, may be brought in the county where its registered office or principal place of business is located, a county where it regularly conducts business, the county where the cause of action arose, or a county where the transaction or occurrence took place out of which the cause of action arose.  Greenwood has its office in Bucks County and neither party disputed that the cause of action arose in Bucks County as well.  Wyszynski argued, however, that Greenwood “regularly conducts business” in Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania applies a quality and quantity test to determine if a business regularly conducts activity in a county.  Quality acts mean those directly, furthering, or essential to corporate objectives.  It does not include incidental acts.  Quantity means those acts that are so continuous and sufficient to be general or habitual.  Those acts in aid of a main purpose are incidental while those necessary for the corporation’s existence are direct.  Numerous courts in Pennsylvania have held that mere solicitation of business does not amount to conducting business in a county.
Wyszynski pointed to the fact that Greenwood had substantial advertisements in Philadelphia newspapers, magazines, on radio stations, on television, and sponsoring events in Philadelphia.  The court disagreed with her, however, and held that advertising is incidental to the purpose of business.  They further stated that advertising, no matter how pervasive, cannot satisfy the quality and quantity analysis.
This case demonstrates the importance of analyzing a business’s activities in different counties when it is a defendant in a case.  Looking at a company’s website and asking a corporate rep about their advertising and activities in the area can give defense counsel an insight into whether the case can be transferred to a more defense-friendly venue.  This little bit of homework at the beginning of a case can lessen liability and lead to reduced verdicts in the long run.  Thanks to Peter Cardwell for his contribution to this post.  Please email <a href="mailto:BGibbons@wcmlaw.com">Brian Gibbons</a> with any questions.
&nbsp;

Headshot of Staff Member
Button
Button
Button
Button

Contact

bottom of page