The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled in September that companies that are registered to conduct business in Pennsylvania may now be sued in the Pennsylvania state courts. Murray v. Am. LaFrance, LLC, 2018 Pa. Super. 267 (Pa. Super. 2018). This includes foreign-based corporations who are registered to do business in Pennsylvania. Murray follows a June 28, 2018 Superior Court decision, Webb-Benjamin, LLC v. International Rug Group, LLC, which also granted personal jurisdiction over foreign-based businesses.
In this context, “foreign corporation” refers to a company that is registered to do business in a different jurisdiction or state than that which it is incorporated in.
The ruling followed a case involving a group of New York firefighters who had experienced hearing loss as a result of excessive occupational noise exposure from fire engine sirens. The firefighters sued Federal Signal Corporation, a foreign corporation registered in Pennsylvania.
In support of its ruling, the Superior Court examined Bors v. Johnson & Johnson, an Eastern District of Pennsylvania case which held that “consent remains a valid form of establishing personal jurisdiction under the Pennsylvania registration statute after Daimler.” Daimler was a 2014 Supreme Court case which held that a normally a foreign corporation must be “at home” in a state before the state court can exercise personal jurisdiction over it. However, the Supreme Court in Daimler did not address whether a business can consent to a state court’s jurisdiction based on the state’s business registration requirements.
The Bors court found that Pennsylvania’s statue informs the registrant about the jurisdictional effect of registering to do business in the state. As a result, by consenting to register, a corporation submits to jurisdiction for all purposes.
Unless and until Murray and Webb-Benjamin are appealed, and a higher court reverses the Superior Court’s rulings, foreign corporations registering to conduct business in Pennsylvania will considered consenting to personal jurisdiction.
Philadelphia Business Lawyers at the Law Office of Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Provide Legal Counsel to Pennsylvania Employees
If you intend to file a lawsuit against your employer, who is registered as a foreign corporation, you are urged to contact the Philadelphia business lawyers at the Law Office of Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. To schedule a confidential consultation today, call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online. Our office is conveniently located in Philadelphia where we represent clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.