Pennsylvania Record

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Power tool manufacturer says Delaware couple's product liability suit wasn't filed in proper jurisdiction

By Nicholas Malfitano | May 2, 2017

PHILADELPHIA – Counsel for a Delaware power tool manufacturer has objected to a Wilmington, Del., couple’s product liability complaint on the bases of venue and jurisdiction, which alleges one of its tools featured a blade that catastrophically injured one of the plaintiffs last year.

In preliminary objections filed on April 21, Lisa Bellino Apelian of Campbell Lipski & Dochney stated plaintiffs Michael and Christina Francisco’s lawsuit “specifically omits the location of the incident anywhere in the body of the complaint, however defendants understand that this incident took place in the state of Delaware.”

Apelian continued that the actual defendant, Hilti, Inc., is based in Plano, Texas and has no connection, either through the complaint’s service or the company's commerce, to the City of Philadelphia or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

“Defendants Hilti Engineering Corporation of North America and Hilti Industries, Inc. do not even exist and did not exist at the time of plaintiff’s incident. As further explained, Hilti of America, Inc. and Hilti Holdings, LTD are only holding companies and are not connected to this incident in any way. Moreover, they exist only under the laws of Delaware,” Apelian said.

Ultimately, Apelian termed the matter as one of “proper venue and subject matter jurisdiction.”

“If there is no appropriate county in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the matter must be dismissed without prejudice. In the instant case, venue may possibly be proper either in Delaware, where the incident allegedly occurred, or in Texas, where the defendant has its principal place of business,” Apelian stated.

The Franciscos first filed suit against the defendants on Feb. 6 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.

“On Aug. 11, 2016, Mr. Francisco was using the subject product to cut pipe while he was present at a construction worksite, and while he was working within the course and scope of his employment. As Mr. Francisco attempted to use the subject product, its defective and unreasonably dangerous condition resulted in the subject product experiencing a sudden and uncontrollable “kick-back” which, in turn, caused the rotating saw blade to strike Mr. Francisco in the face and neck region,” the lawsuit reads.

The plaintiffs say the defendants designed and manufactured a defective device for market sale, which was solely responsible for causing Michael’s “severe, permanent and disfiguring” catastrophic injuries to his face and head.

For counts of strict liability, negligence and loss of consortium (on behalf of Christina), the plaintiffs are seeking damages, jointly and severally, in excess of $50,000, plus compensatory damages, interest, costs and other relief.

The plaintiffs further seek a trial by jury in this matter.

The plaintiffs are represented by Fredric S. Eisenberg and Daniel J. Sherry Jr. of Eisenberg Rothweiler Winkler Eisenberg & Jeck, in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Bellino Apelian of Campbell Lipski & Dochney, also in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170200234

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas

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