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Hangey v. Husqvarna Pro. Prods., 2023 Pa. LEXIS 1578, 2023 WL 8102730 (S. Ct. November 22, 2023) (Dougherty, J.)

The trial court transferred venue based on a determination that corporate defendant did not regularly conduct business in Philadelphia because only 0.005% of the company’s total national revenue was derived from that county. On appeal, the Superior Court reversed, holding the trial court abused its discretion in transferring venue. The Supreme Court granted discretionary review to evaluate the Superior Court’s determination and affirm. Venue properly lies in Philadelphia County. This is essentially a products liability case. Whether a company conducts business for purposes of the law depends upon the facts in each case. The question is whether the acts are being regularly performed within the context of the particular business. The contacts must be sufficiently continuous so as to be considered habitual. The court has to look at the entirety of the business. The percentage of sales of a multi-billion-dollar company in a particular county will always be a tiny percentage of its total sales. The totality of the evidence must be looked at. The governing rules are Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure 1006(d)(1), and determination by the court will not be disturbed on appeal absence an abuse of discretion. The trial court based its decision only on the percentage of HPP business conducted in Philadelphia County. To clarify, the word “sufficient” in the quantity prong refers to the acts deemed sufficient under the quality prong. It is those sufficient, quality acts that must be performed regularly to satisfy the venue inquiry. Unlike personal jurisdiction (which implicates questions of whether a court, in a particular state, may exercise its jurisdiction over the litigants and bind the parties to its decision consistent with due process guarantees in the Fourteenth Amendment), venue analysis require our courts to determine which Pennsylvania county or counties would serve as an appropriate forum. Viewed in isolation, the percentage of a company’s total revenue derived from the forum county cannot establish that the county does not regularly conduct business within that county. The Superior Court’s holding that the trial court improperly transferred venue from Philadelphia to Bucks County is affirmed.