PA Registered Business – What Happens if you are Sued?

The concept of venue is often underappreciated when business owners consider the various legal considerations involving their business. However, as the choice of venue can have a significant impact on the various stages of litigation, understanding how a business may inadvertently expose itself to a particular jurisdiction is a consideration that is imperative to future planning.

In a case of first impression, the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that when a foreign business registers to do business in Pennsylvania, it is consenting to Pennsylvania as a potential venue for future lawsuits. In Murray et al. v. American LaFrance, LLC and Federal Signal Corporation, a group of firefights filed suit against a fire sirens manufacturer, a Delaware Company whose principal office is in Illinois, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court determined that the fire sirens manufacturer had consented to jurisdiction in Pennsylvania by registering to do business in the Commonwealth despite not having any corporate offices in Pennsylvania, not owning or leasing any real property in Pennsylvania, having no bank accounts in Pennsylvania, and not designing or manufacturing any products in Pennsylvania. This case illustrates just how important it is to understand the effects of generic filings that may seem innocuous and how even doing a minimal amount of business in a State of Commonwealth can expose you to its foreign jurisdiction. If you have any questions regarding this issue, please contact one of our business attorneys at [email protected] or call 412.242.4400.