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DOUGLAS D. DAVIS v. C & NW TRANSPORTATION CO. APPEAL AUTO RELEASING (06/06/79)

decided: June 6, 1979.

DOUGLAS D. DAVIS
v.
C & NW TRANSPORTATION CO. APPEAL OF AUTO RELEASING, INC.



COUNSEL

Stanley E. Levine, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Thomas L. Cooper, Pittsburgh, for appellee Douglas D. Davis.

Aloysius F. Mahler, Pittsburgh, for appellee C & NW Transportation Co.

Cercone, President Judge, and Wieand and Lipez, JJ. Cercone, President Judge, concurs in the result.

Author: Lipez

[ 266 Pa. Super. Page 560]

The question here is whether a foreign corporation submits itself to in personam jurisdiction under the Pennsylvania long arm statute, in a suit arising from its alleged negligence, by the mere act of loading, in a foreign state, a railroad car ultimately consigned to a Pennsylvania destination, when that corporation had no control over, or ownership of, the car or goods loaded, and performed its loading services only at the direction of another. The court below decided that question in the affirmative. We reverse.

On December 6, 1976, appellee Davis was employed by the Reliable Railroad Service Company in Pitcairn, Pennsylvania. He was unloading a shipment of automobiles from the railroad cars which had been previously loaded by appellant Auto Releasing, Inc. (Auto Releasing) in Illinois. While

[ 266 Pa. Super. Page 561]

Davis was climbing along the side of one of the railroad cars in the course of his unloading duties, a metal cable which was supporting him broke, causing him to fall to the ground and sustain injuries. The Complaint alleges that Auto Releasing and defendant C & NW Transportation Company (C & NW) either owned or loaded the railroad car in question and were jointly and severally responsible for the accident because (1) they were negligent in failing to inspect and maintain the railroad car; (2) the railroad cars provided were in unsafe condition, in that the metal cable was rusted and worn; and (3) the railroad cars so provided were defective and unreasonably dangerous, and defendants were strictly liable therefor.

Auto Releasing filed preliminary objections to plaintiff's complaint, alleging that the court below did not have in personam jurisdiction over it. The objections were overruled, and Auto Releasing brings this appeal.

The Pennsylvania Long Arm Statute in effect at the commencement of the instant action provides:

Any foreign corporation which shall have done any business in this Commonwealth without procuring a certificate of authority to do so from the Department of State as required by statute, shall be conclusively presumed to have designed the Department of State as its true and lawful attorney authorized to accept, ...


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