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Forum Shopping Comes Up Empty (PA)

September 23, 2022

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In a recent ruling from the Superior Court of PA, <em><a href="https://www.wcmlaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Kendall-v.-Ford-Motor-Company.pdf">Kendall v. Ford Motor Company</a>, th</em>e Court affirmed a lower Court granting defendant’s motion to transfer based on <em>forum non conveniens</em>. The complaint concerned a traffic accident that occurred in Bucks County, yet plaintiff’s counsel filed the complaint in Philadelphia County, a plaintiff friendly trial pool. The court held that because the accident, the defendant, and all witnesses resided in Bucks County Philadelphia was improper venue affirming the lower Court’s order.

Plaintiff’s counsel brought the case in Philadelphia County hoping to gain the benefit of Philadelphia’s jury pool. The plaintiff argued for jurisdiction on manufacturers and retail sellers of the plaintiff’s car from Philadelphia, bringing claims of strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty.  Defense moved to transfer the venue to Bucks County using three compelling arguments. First, Bucks County provided access to witnesses. Second, the plaintiff was a resident a Montgomery County and worked in Bucks County.  All defendants were residents of Bucks County. Third, the accident occurred in Bucks County and was investigated by local police. The defendants further bolstered their argument using affidavits of witness hardship.  Based on all of the above the Court affirmed the lower Court’s ruling that the Bucks County was the proper venue for the claim, and for this case at least, the Court shut down an ambitious plaintiff.

Thanks to Kevin Riley for his assistance with this post.  Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact <a href="mailto:tbracken@wcmlaw.com">Tom Bracken</a>.

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