The concept of venue is often underappreciated when business owners consider the various legal considerations involving their businesses. Importantly, the choice of venue significantly impacts the various stages of litigation and understanding how a business may inadvertently expose itself to a particular jurisdiction must be considered in 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 firefighters filed suit in Pennsylvanis against a fire sirens manufacturer, a Delaware Company whose principal office is in Illinois. 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 Pennsylvania 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 another state 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.