PHILADELPHIA – A premises liability case filed in Pennsylvania federal court against a New Jersey shopping mall, has now been transferred to federal court in that state.

On April 10, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Judge Michael M. Baylson ordered Julie Rodoslogolu’s lawsuit against Macerich Deptford, LLC (which does business as “The Deptford Mall”) transferred to U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Rodoslogolu filed suit against the defendant on Jan. 11, in reference to a slip-and-fall accident which occurred on the defendant’s property on Feb. 12, 2015. The plaintiff believed in good faith the defendant was based in Philadelphia, hence the filing in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania as opposed to its New Jersey counterpart. However, the defendant is in fact based in Deptford, N.J.

“However, defendant informed plaintiff through a motion to dismiss on Feb. 23 that she had sued the wrong defendant. In its motion to dismiss, defendant contended that Macerich Deptford, LLC, a Delaware corporation that does not do business in Philadelphia or anywhere else in Pennsylvania, is the proper defendant. On March 8, plaintiff filed an amended complaint ‘correcting the name of the Macerich Company to Macerich Deptford, LLC.’ Following this change, plaintiff filed a motion to transfer venue to the District of New Jersey on March 8

Although the plaintiff attempted to have the matter transferred based on 28 U.S.C. Section 1404(a), Baylson instead pointed to Section 1406(a); which states a case can be transferred to any forum where it could have been brought as long as it is in the interest of justice, and Baylson found this criterion to apply in the instant case.

“This case could have originally been brought in the District of New Jersey, because it is a proper venue and can properly exercise jurisdiction over this case. Venue is proper in the District of New Jersey because the incident occurred at the Deptford Mall, which is located in New Jersey. In addition, the District of New Jersey has subject matter jurisdiction over this case pursuant to Section 1332. It can exercise personal jurisdiction over the parties in the case because the incident arose in New Jersey, and defendant does a large amount of business in New Jersey through the Deptford Mall,” Baylson stated.

“Because the accident arose in New Jersey and defendant has a business in New Jersey, it is likely that New Jersey law will apply to the claim. Moreover, the witnesses who would be called upon to testify in the case are likely to be in New Jersey. In addition, the transfer is fair to defendant because defendant has a business located in New Jersey and is therefore aware that he is subject to the laws of New Jersey. Finally, defendant does not object to the transfer. Taking these factors in combination, this transfer is in the interest of justice,” Baylson concluded.

The plaintiff is represented by Bruce Martin Ginsburg of Ginsburg & Associates, in Philadelphia.

The defendant is represented by Joseph A. Breymeier of Naulty Scaricamazza & McDevitt, also in Philadelphia.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case 2:17-cv-00167

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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