Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings • Dragonetti Action • Venue

Baylson v. Genetics & IVF Inst., Inc., PICS Case No. 14-0279 (C.P. Philadelphia Feb. 21, 2014) Massiah-Jackson, J. (5 pages).

Where an action was brought for wrongful use of civil proceedings, the only factor that could be considered on an appeal on the issue of venue was the jurisdiction of the underlying action. Ordered.

Plaintiffs brought an action defendants for wrongful use of civil proceedings, arising out of a lawsuit filed in Montgomery County several years prior. Defendants filed preliminary objection to the plaintiff’s complaint, making a procedural challenge to venue, as well as other substantive challenges.

The court sustained defendant’s objection to venue, and transferred the action to Montgomery County. Plaintiffs filed an appeal.

In its 1925(a) opinion, the trial court noted that Pennsylvania appellate case law was clear that, in a Dragonetti action, the only consideration that was permissible when evaluating venue was the jurisdiction of the underlying litigation — forum non conveniens, plaintiff’s residence or choice of forum, location of business offices, or other factors were not relevant or determinative.

The court further noted that it was undisputed that the underlying action was initiated in Montgomery County, and that all of the alleged facts that satisfied the elements of plaintiffs’ cause of action occurred in Montgomery County. Accordingly, the court held that venue was not proper in Philadelphia and that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case.