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Does a Lawsuit Over a Fire In London Belong In Philadelphia?
The latest egregious example of forum shopping/litigation tourism is a case filed in Philadelphia over a fire that happened in London. Why would this case be filed in Philadelphia, about 3542 miles away from where the fire occurred? The answer is Philadelphia’s reputation for huge verdicts and its perennial status as a judicial hellhole!
The suit stems from the June 14, 2017 fire at Grenfell Towers in London. The fire was allegedly ignited by a defective refrigerator and exacerbated by faulty cladding and insulation. It burned for several hours and eventually left 72 dead and dozens more injured. Plaintiffs claim that two companies—Arconic, which made the cladding, and Celotex, which made the insulation—are headquartered in Pittsburgh and Malvern, Pennsylvania, respectively. The defendants argue that their U.S. corporations are entirely separate from the European ones that made the cladding and insulation.
The court will no doubt closely examine the corporate structure of the companies to determine whether Pennsylvania has jurisdiction under due process standards set forth by the United States Supreme Court. However, the more interesting question is: What is this case doing in Philadelphia? [Read more…] about PCCJR Update — August 26, 2019