United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
H. RAMBO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court is a motion to dismiss the complaint based on
forum non conveniens filed by Defendant JLG
Industries Inc. (“JLG”). (Doc. 16.) For the
reasons that follow, the court will deny the motion.
April 25, 2019, Plaintiff Kevin Quirke (“Quirke”)
initiated this action by filing a complaint in the Western
District of Pennsylvania asserting claims for strict products
liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. (Doc. 1.)
According to the complaint, in March 2018, Quirke was
operating a model 860SJ Boom Lift (the “boom
lift”) while working on the premises of his employer,
Sunbelt Rentals of Canada in Toronto, Canada, when the boom
suddenly retracted. (See Id. at ¶¶ 6, 7
10.) The sudden retraction allegedly caused the platform on
which Quirke was standing to rapidly descend about forty feet
before coming to an abrupt stop, causing Quirke to strike the
platform and its railings. (Id. at ¶ 11.) As a
result, Quirke sustained severe injuries including, among
other things, a fractured ankle, a fractured jawbone, a deep
laceration in his neck tissue, and nerve and spinal injuries.
(Id. at ¶ 13.)
alleges that the retraction in the boom and his injuries
resulted from JLG's improper installation and assembly of
the boom lift's cable system. According to Quirke, the
improper assembly caused a “crisscross routing of the
cables resulting in the extended cables rubbing against each
other, ” (Doc. 1, ¶ 10) which caused, in turn, the
cables to degrade and deteriorate over the boom lift's
relatively short time in service. (Id. at
¶¶ 10-12.) JLG avers in its defense that some prior
user of the boom lift may have disengaged a “broken
cable” indicator light in the boom lift's settings
that would have alerted Quirke that the boom lift was not in
usable condition. (Doc. 17, p. 13 n.1.)
is an Irish citizen. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 1.) JLG is a
Pennsylvania corporation. (Id. at ¶ 2.) The
boom lift is alleged to have been manufactured and assembled
by JLG in McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania sometime between March
2014 and March 2018 before its sale to Quirke's employer.
(Id. at ¶¶ 8-9; Doc. 16, ¶ 7.)
19, 2019, JLG filed a motion to dismiss the complaint based
on forum non conveniens and alternatively to
transfer venue to the Middle District of Pennsylvania. (Doc.
8.) On June 17, 2019, the Western District of Pennsylvania
partially granted JLG's motion and ordered that the case
be transferred to the Middle District of Pennsylvania. (Doc.
13.) In doing so, the Western District “defer[red] any
ruling on the requested dismissal on the basis of forum
non-conveniens to the transferee court.” (Id.
at p. 4.) On July 30, 2019, JLG filed its present motion to
dismiss based on forum non conveniens. (Doc. 16.)
The matter has been fully briefed and is ripe for
Standard of Review
non conveniens is a doctrine empowering a court with
legal jurisdiction over a dispute to dismiss a case when
“the chosen forum would either oppress a defendant out
of all proportion to plaintiff's convenience or cause the
court administrative and legal problems.” Trotter
v. 7R Holdings LLC, 873 F.3d 435, 439 (3d Cir. 2017)
(citations and internal quotation marks omitted). In deciding
a motion to dismiss based on forum non conveniens,
“a district court must first determine whether an
adequate alternate forum can entertain the case.”
Eurofins Pharma U.S. Holdings v. BioAlliance Pharma
SA, 623 F.3d 147, 160 (3d Cir. 2010) (citation and
brackets omitted). This requirement
“[o]rdinarily…will be satisfied when the
defendant is ‘amenable to process' in the other
jurisdiction.” Acuna-Atalaya v. Newmont Mining
Corp., 765 Fed.Appx. 811, 815 (3d Cir. 2019) (quoting
Piper Aircraft Co. v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 254 n.22
motions “may be granted even though the law applicable
in the alternative forum is less favorable to the
plaintiff's chance of recovery.” Piper
Aircraft Co., 454 U.S. at 250 (citations omitted).
However, “in the rare circumstance…where the
remedy offered by the other forum is clearly unsatisfactory,
the other forum may not be an adequate alternative, ”
such as where “the remedy provided by the alternative
forum is so clearly inadequate or unsatisfactory that it is
no remedy at all.” Acuna-Atalaya, 765
Fed.Appx. at 815 (quoting Piper Aircraft Co., 454
U.S. at 254).
adequate alternative forum does exist, “the district
court must determine next the appropriate amount of deference
to be given the plaintiff's choice of forum” and
must then “balance the relevant public and private
interest factors.” Eurofins Pharma U.S.
Holdings, 623 F.3d at 160 (internal quotation marks and
citations omitted). The private interest factors include
access to sources of proof; availability of compulsory
process for the attendance of unwilling witnesses; the cost
of obtaining attendance of willing witnesses; the possibility
of view of premises, if view would be appropriate to the
action; and all other practical problems that make trial of a
case easy, expeditious and inexpensive. Trotter, 873
F.3d at 442. The public interest factors include the
possibility of turning courts into congested centers; the
likelihood that the case will burden a jury composed of
people with no relation to the litigation; the probability
that the case will touch the affairs of many persons in the
community; and the chances that the court will be at home
with the law that must govern the case. Id.
articulating these factors, the Supreme Court repeatedly
emphasized the district court's discretion in selecting
and reviewing factors.” Id. The relevant
balancing test requires a qualitative analysis. Lacey v.
Cessna Aircraft Co., 932 F.2d 170, 186 (3d Cir. 1991).
The burden is on the movant to show that an adequate
alternative forum exists and that the private and public
interest factors “weigh heavily in favor of
dismissal.” Id. at 180.
JLG has demonstrated that an adequate ...