Venue is a Gamble: Casino case transferred to Bucks County for lack of minimum contacts.

On March 9, 2012, the Superior Court affirmed a Court of Common Pleas decision transferring the case of Wimble v. Greenwood Gaming to Bucks County from Philadelphia. The case involved an incident wherein the plaintiff slipped at fell at Parx Casino located in Bensalem, PA, which is indisputably in Bucks County. However plaintiff brought the case in Philadelphia County, ostensibly because  Greenwood Gaming regularly conducts business in Philadelphia, but really because Philadelphia juries are more generous than Bucks juries. Plaintiff asserted that Greenwood conducts business in Philadelphia through its subsidiary corporations which run 3 off-track betting facilities in Philadelphia. Furthermore plaintiff claimed that Greenwood spends a significant amount of advertising dollars in Philadelphia.

However, the trial court was unconvinced by plaintiff’s argument. The trial court stated that advertising does not establish venue because “mere solicitation of business in a particular county does not amount to conducting business”. Furthermore the trial court found that the corporations Wimble described as Greenwood subsidiaries, were more like sister entities.

The Superior Court agreed, noting that the entirety of Greenwood’s corporate activities occur in Bucks county and the underlying incident occurred there. Furthermore the Superior Court explained that while a parent and a wholly-owned subsidiary share common goals, they are still recognized as separate and distinct legal entities.

Thanks to Remy Cahn for her contributions to this post.

For more information about this post, please contact Bob Cosgrove at rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com.