PHILADELPHIA — In a case where a woman fell at a casino, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania upheld a ruling that Bucks County, where the casino does business, was ruled the proper venue over Philadelphia, despite the appellant's claims of heavy advertising in that city.
Rita Wyszynski filed suit in January 2016 claiming she had been injured when she slipped on a wet restroom floor at the Parx Casino. She filed suit against Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment Inc. d/b/a Parx Casino and Racing. Defendant replied that Wyszynski's allegations were untrue and argued that the venue was improper, as defendant had no business ties to Philadelphia County.
Siding with the defendant, the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas ruled the case should be transferred to the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. The plaintiff objected, arguing that “Appellee’s advertising, consisting of ads in Philadelphia newspapers and magazines, radio stations and television channels, and sponsoring events in Philadelphia, should be considered ‘substantial business,’” according to court documents.
The burden of proof when a change of venue is sought, as the Superior Court cited, is with the party moving for the change. Generally, the plaintiff’s choice of venue is given more weight.
However, neither party disputed that the principal place of business (and the site of the incident) is in Bucks County, as well as the company's registered office.
As the court’s order explains, “Pennsylvania law regarding the transfer of venue is well-settled; the court applies the ‘quality’ and ‘quantity’ test to determine if a corporation’s business contacts are sufficient to constitute regular business conduct for purposes of establishing venue.”
The trial court held that soliciting business and doing business are not the same. The advertising did not meet the standard of conducting business, and the transfer of venue was proper.