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Where Do I Sue a Business? Where Can My Business Be Sued? Is “Venue” Proper?

Businesses, and their principals, are often sued in courts far from their place of business/residence on the basis of their "contacts" with the county in which the suit was initiated. There are numerous reasons for such "forum shopping." Among them are a claimant's desire to fight on its home court, the convenience or (inconvenience) of the chosen court and how likely a jury is to award large damages.

One basis for luring a corporate defendant to a court far from home is that it "regularly conducts business" in such county. Pennsylvania courts apply a "quantity and quality" test to determine whether a business has made sufficient contacts in a forum county in order to be sued there. Quality means those actions directly furthering, or essential to, corporate business, and quantity means those actions which are habitual or continuous.

In a recent case, the Superior Court re-affirmed the notion that the "mere solicitation of business in a particular county does not amount to conducting business." In that case, Wimble v. Parx Casino and Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, Inc., Wimble sued in Philadelphia County the owner of the Parx Casino for injuries he allegedly sustained at the Defendants' Bucks County casino property. The Defendant was a Bucks County business, the casino was in Bucks County, and the alleged injury occurred in Bucks County. Wimble argued that a "sister" corporation of the Defendant spends a substantial sum advertising the casino in Philadelphia County and that such amounted to it transacting business in Philadelphia County. The Court disagreed, concluding that the Defendant's (or its parent or sister company's) advertising activities in Philadelphia did not amount to conducting business there and the Court ordered that the case be transferred to Bucks County.

For more information about this case, the importance of venue in litigation, or your specific litigation needs, contact the experienced business and commercial litigation attorneys at Cunningham & Chernicoff, P.C.

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