Pennsylvania Personal Jurisdiction Update

The past three years have seen the scope of personal jurisdiction challenges expand on a national level, and Pennsylvania is no exception. Two areas in particular in Pennsylvania, jurisdiction by consent and jurisdiction by registration, have been tackled by both the state and federal courts in the Commonwealth. There have been inconsistent rulings in the courts, and there is potential for a continued sea change in this particular area of jurisprudence based on the outcome of a currently pending appeal in the Pennsylvania Superior Court.…
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Defendants Win Locomotive Inspection Act Preemption Argument on Summary Judgment Motion in Pennsylvania United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania, January 9, 2020

PENNSYLVANIA – A personal injury lawsuit was filed in the court of common pleas of Philadelphia County in April 2016 on behalf of the decedent, Diane Shields. Thereafter, it was removed to federal court. The complaint alleged common law causes of action for negligence, wrongful death and survivorship claims due to the decedent’s exposure to asbestos through her employment at the Motor Coils Manufacturing Company in Braddock, PA. The decedent worked as a laborer at Motor Coils where she cleaned pinion gears as part of…
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Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to File Amend Complaint Against Auto Manufacturer Denied U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania November 25, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA – The plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file an amended complaint, after the court granted Ford and AT&T’s motions to dismiss. Ford argued that the motion should be denied because there was no new exposure information. The court denied the motion without prejudice because the plaintiff failed to adhere to longstanding Third Circuit rule that a motion to amend must contain a draft of the amended complaint so that the court can determine if the amendment is futile. Since the plaintiff failed…
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Eight Defendants Dismissed Due to Lack of Personal Jurisdiction U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania November 19, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA – In an order entered on November 19, 2019, Judge Robreno of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed eight defendants in the Fend matter based upon the court’s lack of personal jurisdiction over each. The plaintiff was allegedly exposed to asbestos while working on ships and aircraft while serving in the Navy. In a footnote opinion, Robreno stated that, “the court finds no reason to amend its ruling in Sullivan that Pennsylvania’s statutory scheme requiring foreign corporations to register to do business and, therefore,…
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Court Refuses Plaintiff’s Attempt to “Smuggle” New Discovery Requests through Motion Practice United States District Court, E. D. Pennsylvania, November 19, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA – The plaintiff filed this lawsuit against several defendants alleging damages suffered from exposure to asbestos. The opinion did not provide any background into exposure, disease or procedural history, other than ongoing motion practice between the plaintiff and the defendant, Space Systems/Loral, LLC (SSL) regarding responses to discovery.The plaintiff filed a motion to compel SSL to provide more adequate responses to interrogatories, specifically Interrogatory No. 3, regarding company background information. On July 22, 2019, the court issued an order compelling the requested discovery from…
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Improper Exclusion of Plaintiff’s Affidavit and Testimony Leads to Reversal of Summary Judgment Pennsylvania Superior Court, October 28, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA – The plaintiff, Nicholas Kardos, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2016, and he filed suit against numerous defendants in March of that year. On September 12, 2016, he submitted an affidavit regarding his work at Gulf Research and exposure to asbestos while employed there. He was deposed and cross-examined by numerous defendants over three days in October 2016, and passed away eight days after the last day of testimony. Numerous defendants filed motions for summary judgment. All of the defendants were present at…
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Court Cites Strong Policy Against Granting Motions to Strike in Denying Plaintiff’s Motion United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania, July 1, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA — In a case previously covered by the Asbestos Case Tracker, the defendant, Viad Corporation, filed an answer to the plaintiff’s complaint on February 22, 2019, including a successor in interest defense, an assertion that was raised for the first time in their reply to the plaintiff’s response to their motion for summary judgement and not decided on by the court at that time. The plaintiff filed a motion to strike Viad’s answer, and Viad filed a reply. “The issue in this case is…
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Asbestos Multidistrict Litigation Judge Rejects Pre-Daimler Third Circuit Authority Finding Personal Jurisdiction Based on Registration as a Foreign Corporation U.S. District Court E.D. of Pennsylvania, June 6, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA – In Re Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Jackie Sullivan, Executrix of the Estate of John L. Sullivan v. A.W. Chesterton, Inc., et al., the Asbestos multidistrict litigation court recently ruled on a motion to dismiss filed by a defendant. The court granted the motion as it concluded that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant. The court analyzed the 2014 Daimler AG v. Bauman, decision, which brought about a sea change in the jurisprudence of exercising general personal jurisdiction over a foreign…
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Outcome of Instant Matter Would Not Impact Non-Party Talc Supplier’s Pending Bankruptcy Estate, Remand Ordered United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania, May 30, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA – The defendant Johnson & Johnson (J&J), in a topic that has been extensively covered by the Asbestos Case Tracker, indicated in its notice of removal that this case is one of many in the United States which involve claims concerning personal injuries and deaths allegedly caused by J&J’s cosmetic talc. J&J’s motion further indicates that the “sole supplier” of the talc which the defendant used in its product, filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. The plaintiffs’ complaint is similar to those filed by…
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Court Reverses Grant of Summary Judgment for Two Fire Door Manufacturers Superior Court of Pennsylvania, May 22, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA – In Lamson v. Georgia-Pacific LLC f/k/a Georgia Pacific Corporation, Individually and as Successor-in-Interest to Bestwall Gypsum Company, et al., the Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently reviewed the plaintiff’s (appellant) appeal from an order granting summary judgment to two defendants (appellees) in the case. The trial court had concluded that the appellant failed to demonstrate that he was exposed to asbestos from fire doors manufactured by the appellees. The superior court, held that the appellant submitted sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue…
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