Product Liability Case Dismissed Based on Lack of Jurisdiction
The defense prevailed on preliminary objections in Philadelphia County based on lack of jurisdiction over a truck manufacturer. The case was originally filed in the federal court, but jurisdiction was found to be improper. If a party is an LLC, citizenship for diversity purposes is determined by the citizenship of the members of the LLC. Our client’s sole member was a Pennsylvania citizen and, therefore, not diverse with a Pennsylvania plaintiff. The case was dismissed and subsequently refiled in Philadelphia County. The defense identified the issue of whether the tests for general jurisdiction and diversity jurisdiction were necessarily the same. The question became whether a company who is a citizen of Pennsylvania for diversity jurisdiction purposes could, nevertheless, argue it was not “at home” in Pennsylvania under the Daimler v. Bauman decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, and, thus, the plaintiff lacked jurisdiction over that company on general jurisdiction grounds. The defense's research revealed cases from which we could argue that the test for jurisdiction for an LLC did not involve the citizenship issues present in diversity jurisdiction analysis. Rather, the court should look to the state in which the LLC was formed and its principal place of business. Our client was neither formed in Pennsylvania nor had its principal place of business in Pennsylvania, therefore, no general jurisdiction existed. Nor was there specific jurisdiction. The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas agreed and dismissed the case.