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Anthony v. Casino

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

June 12, 2018

CURTIS ANTHONY Appellant
v.
PARX CASINO, PARX CASINO AND RACING, PARK CASINO DESIGN, INC., GREENWOOD GAMING AND ENTERTAINMENT, INC., GREENWOOD RACING, INC., PHILADELPHIA PARK CASINO, AND PHILADELPHIA PARK CASINO AND RACETRACK

          Appeal from the Order August 8, 2017 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Civil Division at No(s): No. 1491 June Term, 2017

          BEFORE: SHOGAN, J., LAZARUS, J., and DUBOW, J.

          OPINION

          LAZARUS, J.

         Curtis Anthony appeals from the trial court's order sustaining Appellees', Parx Casino, Parx Casino and Racing, Park Casino Design, Inc., Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, Inc., Greenwood Racing, Inc., Philadelphia Park Casino, and Philadelphia Park Casino and Racetrack (collectively, Parx), preliminary objections and transferring venue of the underlying negligence action to Bucks County. After careful review, we affirm.

         Parx, the largest casino gaming complex in Pennsylvania, is located at 2999 Street Road, Bensalem, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Parx is owned and operated by Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Greenwood G & E Holding, Inc., which, in turn, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Greenwood Racing, Inc. Greenwood Racing, Inc., is also the parent company of multiple subsidiaries, including City Turf Club Op Co., which operates as the Turf Club in Philadelphia County. Neither Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, Inc., nor Greenwood Racing are involved in the operation of the Turf Clubs.

         On June 14, 2017, Anthony filed a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia against Parx alleging that in October 2015 he sustained serious injuries while visiting the casino when he "was caused to trip, slip, stumble and/or fall by reason of a broken and defective walkway and curb" that Parx negligently failed to maintain, inspect, and repair. Anthony Complaint, 6/4/17, at ¶¶ 14-19. On July 12 2017, Parx filed preliminary objections alleging improper venue pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1006(e) (improper venue raised by preliminary objection) and 2179 (venue for personal injury actions). After Anthony filed several responses to Parx's preliminary objections, the court entered an order sustaining Parx's objections and ordering that the litigation be transferred, at Anthony's cost, to the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County.

         Anthony filed a timely notice of appeal and court-ordered Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) concise statement of errors complained of on appeal. He raises the following issues for our consideration:

(1) Under Pa.R.C.P. 2179(a)(2), can venue in a particular county be established over a parent corporation based upon the business activities of its subsidiary or sister corporation?
(2) Under Pa.R.C.P. 2179(a)(2), can venue in a particular county be established based upon a corporation's efforts, through financial investment and litigation, to open a casino in that county?

Appellant's Brief, at 3-4.

         Our scope and standard of review in venue transfer cases is well-settled:

[A] trial court's decision to transfer venue will not be disturbed absent an abuse of discretion. A [p]laintiff's choice of forum is to be given great weight, and the burden is on the party challenging the choice to show it was improper. However, a plaintiff's choice of venue is not absolute or unassailable. Indeed, if there exists any proper basis for the trial court's decision to grant a petition to transfer venue, the decision must stand.

Fritz v. Glen Mills Schools, 840 A.2d 1021, 1023 (Pa. Super. 2003) (citation omitted).

         Anthony alleges that the trial court erred in transferring venue of the case to Bucks County where venue properly lies in Philadelphia based upon ...


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