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Product liability case may be moving out of PA state court

Litigation can vary significantly. It can involve a few parties from the same state or several different parties, national and international. It can raise easy or complex issues. This is true of all types of cases, including those arising from a product liability claim. Further, sometimes these details will dictate whether the case proceeds in state or federal court.

In the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, a product liability claim in currently pending. The matter appears more complex than perhaps when it was initially evaluated. The plaintiffs are from one of Pennsylvania's neighboring states, and the defendants are both local and from California.

The case arises from a prostate cancer surgery. The plaintiff claims that he sustained injuries because of a defective product used in the surgery. The lawsuit contains several claims, including, but not limited to, ones for strict product liability, negligence, fraud and breach of warranty.

The defendants are finally responding. The product liability attorney representing them has decided to request a transfer of the action from state to federal court. They argue that federal court is the appropriate venue since the matter involves citizens from different states.

Removal is a procedural tool. It strips one court of subject-matter jurisdiction and provides it to another. One of the grounds on which a defendant can seek removal is if the case involves parties from different states -- just like in this case. However, in addition to making this showing, the defendant must also show that the amount in controversy is more than $75,000. If these two elements are not both satisfied, the case cannot successfully be removed to federal court based on the diversity of the parties.

Removal is definitely something litigants should consider if they are involved in cases with multi-state parties. Evaluating whether it a case should proceed in Pennsylvania state court or federal court may make significant differences in the litigation down the road.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, "Surgical device manufacturer faces products liability claim over injuries sustained in botched prostate cancer surgery," Jon Campisi, Aug. 21, 2013.