On October 21, 2011 the Superior Court of Pennsylvania decided Schultz v. MMI Products et al, 2011 PA Super 225 (Pa. Super, 2011), which affirmed the trial court’s transfer of venue to Lehigh County.
The plaintiff was injured at a construction site in Lehigh County but filed suit in Philadelphia County. Of the five defendants, two objected to venue in Philadelphia, as they did not regularly conduct business there. The Superior court noted that corporations have a constitutional right to seek a change of venue. The court also explained that venue questions are particularly fact-based and can only be decided on a case-by-case basis.
In this case, three of the five defendants waived their objection to improper venue when they did not raise the issue in their preliminary objections. However, despite plaintiff’s claims, the court explained the fact that the other defendants waived their right does not have the effect of establishing proper venue for all other remaining defendants.
This case is useful to all corporate defendants as a reminder that corporate defendants can be successful in transferring venue out of Philadelphia County. If a corporation does not have significant contacts in the county, this strategy is one that could prove quite beneficial.
Thanks to Remy Cahn for her contribution to this post.