PHILADELPHIA - A lawsuit filed against Venetian hotel and casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. was transferred to a federal court in Nevada after a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania refused in a Feb. 21 ruling to dismiss the case.
Plaintiff Karen Esposito filed her initial claim against Las Vegas Sands in the Court of Common Pleas in Northampton amid allegations that she suffered "severe and debilitating" injuries when she fell during a visit to the casino.
The case was transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where the defendant asked for a dismissal or a transfer to the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.
Judge R. Barclay Surrick of the Pennsylvania Eastern district agreed, ruling he has no personal jurisdiction over the defendant.
U.S. District Judge R, Barclay Surrick openjurist.org
The opinion said Esposito had asked that the case be transferred back to state court because Las Vegas Sands also operates a casino in Bethlehem.
The plaintiff also claimed that the amount of damages sought will not exceed $75,000, which means the case will fall below the minimum amount required for a transfer to federal court.
According to the ruling, Esposito was in Las Vegas in June 2015 "when she slipped and fell walking from the jacuzzi to the towel area at the resort."
The plaintiff claims "the fall was the result of a wet and slippery substance on the floor and the absence of 'wet floor' signs to warn her of the dangerous condition," according to court documents.
Surrick said in his order that he could not assume either personal or general jurisdiction because the defendant does not have ties to Pennsylvania that "are so continuous and systematic as to render them essentially at home in the forum state."
The judge said Esposito's only argument for keeping the case in Pennsylvania was the defendant's "ownership of a subsidiary casino and resort here."
That is not enough to back up Esposito's contention that the case should not be moved, the judge said.
"The interest of justice dictates the transfer of this action," the transfer ruling said.