![if gte IE 9]><![endif]><![if gte IE 9]><![endif]><![if gte IE 9]><![endif]>
Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Superior Court of Pennsylvania
June 3, 2020, Argued; March 8, 2021, Decided; March 8, 2021, Filed
No. 3298 EDA 2017
[*1138] OPINION BY McLAUGHLIN, J.:
Ronald Scott Hangey and Rosemary Hangey, husband and wife, appeal from the order sustaining preliminary objections to venue in Philadelphia County and transferring the case to Bucks County. We conclude the trial court abused its discretion in finding that the contacts of Husqvarna Professional Products, Inc. ("HPP") with Philadelphia did not satisfy the quantity prong of the venue analysis. We therefore reverse.
The trial court summarized the factual and procedural history of the case:
[The Hangeys] commenced this action on March 13, 2017 by filing a Complaint. The Amended Complaint, filed April 10, 2017, alleges that in May 2013, Plaintiff [*1139] Ronald Hangey purchased a Husqvarna riding lawnmower from Defendant Trumbauer's Lawn and Recreation, Inc. in Quakertown, Bucks County. On August 5, 2016, Ronald Hangey was maimed when he fell off his lawnmower and the [**2] lawnmower ran over his legs while the blades were still engaged; the accident occurred at [the Hangeys'] property in Wayne County. The Amended Complaint named five defendants—Husqvarna Professional Products, Inc. ["HPP"], Husqvarna Group, Husqvarna U.S. Holding, Inc., Husqvarna AB, and Trumbauer's Lawn and Recreation, Inc.—and sounds in negligence, strict liability, and loss of consortium.
All Defendants filed Preliminary Objections. Defendants Husqvarna U.S. Holdings, Inc. and Husqvarna AB filed Preliminary Objections which, inter alia, challenged personal jurisdiction. Defendants [HPP], Husqvarna Group, and Trumbauer's Lawn and Recreation, Inc., filed Preliminary Objections arguing, inter alia, improper venue. [The trial court] permitted the parties to take discovery relevant to the issues of personal jurisdiction and venue.
[The Hangeys'] venue-related discovery revealed the following. Husqvarna Group is a nonexistent entity that acts as a marketing device for a number of Husqvarna-branded corporate entities, including [HPP]. Deposition of John Stanfield, 55:14-56:9 (August 30, 2017). John Trumbauer, sole shareholder of Defendant Trumbauer's Lawn and Recreation, Inc., produced an [**3] affidavit in which he averred Defendant Trumbauer's Lawn and Recreation, Inc.'s principal place of business was in Quakertown, PA, that Philadelphia did not fall within their target market area, and they did not regularly conduct business in Philadelphia. Defendant Trumbauer's Lawn and Recreation, Inc.'s Preliminary Objection at Ex. "B." [HPP] is a Delaware corporation with a principal place of business located in Charlotte, North Carolina. See Defendants' Ex. "C" Affidavit of Jordan Baucom. In 2016, [HPP] had approximately $1.4 billion in sales revenue in the United States, of which $75,310.00 came from direct sales in Philadelphia County. See [HPP's] monetary sales data from 2014-2016, submitted to the Court under Seal pursuant to the Order dated September 12, 2017. Of the $75,000 in sales made in Philadelphia in 2016, roughly $69,700 came from a single Husqvarna authorized dealer, DL Electronics, Inc. Id. Approximately 0.005% of [HPP's] 2016 United States sales revenue resulted from direct sales in Philadelphia County. Sales data from 2014 and 2015 is substantially similar, with approximately 0.005% of Husqvarna's annual United States sale revenue resulting from direct sales within [**4] Philadelphia County. Id. These sales figures do not include the revenue generated by selling Husqvarna products at "big box" retailers such as Home Depot, Lowe's, or Sears. In the case of "big box" retailers, John Stanfield, the corporate representative for [HPP], testified that [HPP] delivers its products to the retailers' distribution centers, none of which are located in Philadelphia County. See e.g. Stanfield Dep. 31:17-34:20 (testifying that sales to Lowe's would be delivered to the Lowe's distribution center in either Pottsville or Pittstown, Pennsylvania). Once the Husqvarna products are delivered to the retailers' distribution centers, the retailers retain sole discretion as to where the products will be offered for sale, including stores located in Philadelphia County. See Affidavit of John Stanfield at 19.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
247 A.3d 1136 *; 2021 Pa. Super. LEXIS 107 **; 2021 PA Super 37; 2021 WL 855456
RONALD SCOTT HANGEY AND ROSEMARY HANGEY H/W, Appellant v. HUSQVARNA PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTS, INC., HUSQVARNA GROUP, HUSQVARNA U.S. HOLDING, INC., HUSQVARNA AB, AND TRUMBAUER'S LAWN AND RECREATION, INC.
Subsequent History: Appeal granted by, Request granted Hangey v. Husqvarna Pro. Prods., 2022 Pa. LEXIS 573 (Pa., May 10, 2022)
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the Order September 7, 2017. In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Civil Division at No(s): No. 1015 March Term, 2017. Before ARNOLD L. NEW, J.
Hangey v. Husqvarna Prof'l Prods., 2019 Pa. Super. LEXIS 586 (Pa. Super. Ct., June 11, 2019)
venue, quantity, trial court, prong, sales, products, contacts, regularly, percent, habitual, cases, preliminary objection, retailers, abuse of discretion, transferring, graduate, courts, conducting business, distribution center, authorized dealer, sales revenue, conducts
Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Allocation, Venue, Motions to Transfer, Choice of Forum, Preliminary Considerations, Corporations, Individual Defendants, In Rem & Personal Jurisdiction, In Personam Actions, Minimum Contacts