Justice Arlene Bluth


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Defendants moved for dismissal of the action, alleging a lack of personal jurisdiction in this suit arising from New York resident Morgulas’ attendance at a school of special needs students defendants operated in Pennsylvania. Morgulas alleged she was physically assaulted by other students, and staff broke her arm. Defendants claimed as the summons and complaint were only served via registered mail, they were served improperly. The court agreed finding Morgulas did not serve the summons and complaint properly, noting the advice plaintiff’s attorney was given—serving via registered mail— was the wrong information, and its failure to properly effectuate service within 120 days after commence of the action required dismissal of the case. Also, defendants were foreign entities organized under Delaware law with principal places of business in Pennsylvania, and the court lacked general jurisdiction over them. It further found it lacked jurisdiction under New York’s long arm statute, noting allegations detailed torts allegedly committed by students at the school, and a staff member. As all of the alleged occurrences took place in Pennsylvania—defendants’ duty of care arose in Pennsylvania, not New York,—dismissal was granted.