Friday, January 16, 2015

Proper Venue for Suits Against Domestic Corporation, Long Arm Jurisdiction

Proper Venue for Suits Against Domestic Corporation, Long Arm Jurisdiction


A decision rendered last week by the Kentucky Court of Appeals addressed both the proper venue for a suit against a domestic corporation and as well the application of the Kentucky long arm statute to Indiana corporation. Cooper v. Nair, No. 2013-CA-001746-MR (Ky. App. January 9, 2015).
Cooper brought suit against Dr. Agith Nair, Kentuckiana Pain Specialist, PSC and Metro Specialty Surgery Center, LLC, all in connection with allegations of negligence in affording Cooper treatment for lower back pain. Kentuckiana Pain Specialist is a Kentucky professional service corporation with its office in Louisville. Cooper was treated by Nair numerous times at that office. In addition, Nair performed a surgical procedure on Cooper at the Metro Specialty Surgery Center, that being an Indiana LLC without any operations in Kentucky. The suit filed by  Cooper was filed in Jefferson Circuit Court.
In response the complaint, Metro Specialty Surgery Center asserted that the Jefferson Circuit Court lacked personal jurisdiction over it. Dr. Nair and Kentuckiana Pain Specialist answered the complaint alleging improper venue. The Jefferson Circuit Court would ultimately dismiss Metro Specialty Surgery Center based on the lack of personal jurisdiction, and thereafter granted the joint motion of Dr. Nair and Kentuckiana Pain Specialist seeking to dismiss based upon improper venue. Both of these holdings were appealed.
With respect to the dismissal of Dr. Nair and Kentuckiana Pain Specialist, it appears the trial court granted the motion to dismiss based upon choice of law and forum non conveniens issues. The Court of Appeals rejected these bases, noting that what is the proper venue for an action is determined by Kentucky statutes, specifically KRS § 452.460(1), it providing that the action shall be brought in the county in which the defendant resides or in which the injury was done. In addition, KRS § 452.450 provides that a corporation may be sued in the county in which its place of business is located.  It being uncontested the Dr. Nair resided in Jefferson County, and likewise that Kentuckiana Pain Specialist had an office in Jefferson County, the suit against both of them was properly filed in Jefferson Circuit Court. For that reason, dismissal of the claims against these two defendants was set aside.
Turning to Metro Specialty Surgery Center, the Indiana LLC, the court applied the Kentucky long arm statute (KRS § 454.210). In connection therewith, the plaintiffs sought to engage in discovery with respect to contacts with Kentucky. Conversely, Metro Specialty relied upon the fact that Cooper did not allege a basis for the court to exercise personal jurisdiction. Referencing Caesar's Riverboat Casino, LLC v. Beach, 336 S.W.3d 51 (Ky. 2011), the court found that the Indiana LLC does not conduct business in Kentucky and it did not cause any tortious injury to Cooper in the Commonwealth. For those reasons, the dismissal of Metro Specialty Surgery Center from the suit was affirmed.

Another review of this decision appears AT THIS LINK.

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