A Capehart Scatchard Blog

New Jersey Cannot Transfer Case to Pennsylvania Due to Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

By on November 21, 2014 in Blog with 0 Comments

Plaintiffs Mohammad were injured in an automobile accident in Philadelphia. Plaintiffs reside in North Bergen, New Jersey and defendants in Bensalem, PA. Plaintiffs filed suit in Bergen County in Mohammad v. Cohen, 2014 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2688 (App. Div. Nov. 14, 2014) and defendants moved to dismiss based upon the lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court granted the motion and dismissed the case with prejudice, finding that there was no way to cure the jurisdictional deficiency. The plaintiffs then moved for reconsideration and requested a transfer to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. That motion was denied and the plaintiffs appealed this decision.

The plaintiffs conceded the lack of personal jurisdiction. Thus, the Appellate Division found no basis to reinstate the case.

The plaintiffs argued, however, that the case should be transferred to the Pennsylvania state court. The plaintiffs analogized this matter to a child custody suit or the federal courts’ ability to transfer venue amongst the district courts.

The Appellate Division found that neither provided a legal basis for a transfer. Unless there is an authorizing statute permitting the transfer between sovereign jurisdictions, such as in child custody cases, a transfer would improperly interfere  Pennsylvania’s sovereign powers. The appeals court stated that it cannot require a sovereign court take up a New Jersey case or take any action that would impair that state’s ability to enforce its statute of limitations.

However, the Appellate Division did reverse the trial court’s order to dismiss with prejudice and held that the dismissal should be without prejudice. Because this dismissal was based upon a procedural ground, i.e., lack of personal jurisdiction, the plaintiffs should have been given the opportunity to cure this deficiency. Additionally, if the dismissal was with prejudice, it incorrectly signals to other sovereign courts that the dismissal was on the merits, likely precluding litigation in another jurisdiction.

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About the Author

About the Author:

Ms. Ramos is an Executive Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Litigation Department at Capehart Scatchard, P.A. located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She is an experienced litigator with over 25 years experience handling diverse matters. Practice areas include tort defense, business litigation, estate litigation, tort claims and civil rights defense, construction litigation, insurance coverage, employment litigation, shareholder disputes, and general litigation.

For the years 2020 and 2021, Ms. Ramos was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the practice area of Litigation - Insurance. The attorneys on this list are selected based upon the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area. A complete description of The Best Lawyers in America© methodology can be viewed via their website at: https://www.bestlawyers.com/methodology.

In 2021, Capehart Scatchard and Ms. Ramos received the “Best Law Firm” ranking in the area of Litigation – Insurance (Metro, Tier 3) published by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®. Law firms included on the list are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have at least one attorney who has been included in the current edition of Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top five percent of practicing lawyers in the United States. Betsy Ramos (Litigation – Insurance) was recognized for this prestigious award in the 2021 edition. For a description of the “Best Law Firm” selection methodology please visit: https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx.

“Best Law Firms” is published by Best Lawyers in partnership with U.S. News & World Report. For a description of the selection methodology please visit: https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/methodology.aspx.

*No aspect of this advertisement has been submitted to or approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

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