A Queens judge has ruled that his court has jurisdiction to preside over a suit filed by a New York resident who was allegedly injured while disembarking a train operated by the Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority at a station in Delaware.
According to court papers, Hing Piu Wong, a 55-year-old Queens resident, boarded a SEPTA train in Philadelphia on Oct. 20, 2015, to Claymont, Delaware.
When he reached his destination, Wong alleges, the train was leaning to one side, causing a gap between the train and the platform. As he tried to disembark, Wong fell on the platform, allegedly causing him to dislocate his right wrist.
Wong received two surgeries for the injury, he alleges, and had to leave his job as a sushi chef. In August, Wong sued SEPTA for negligence and the authority subsequently moved to dismiss, arguing that Queens Supreme Court Justice Rudolph Greco Jr. lacks personal jurisdiction over SEPTA, and claiming forum non conveniens and immunity under Pennsylvania statutes.
On Wednesday, Greco denied the motion to dismiss, writing that, while SEPTA trains and buses do not serve New York, the authority does not deny that it sells tickets from a New Jersey Transit window at New York Penn Station, and thus the authority falls under the state’s so-called “long-arm statute,” which allows exercise of personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state entity that conducts business in the state.
Greco also waved away SEPTA’s forum non conveniens claim, finding that litigating the case places a greater hardship on Wong, who is not an English speaker, than on a multistate transportation agency.
Harold Pokel of Shotkin, Lee & Associates appeared for Wong.
Lori Quinn, a shareholder with Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, appeared for SEPTA.
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