Jeffrey L. Oster was quoted in the article “Slip-Fall Suit Against Sports Bar Sent Back to Pa. State Court,” which appeared on Law360 on November 14, 2023. Representing both defendants in the case (Miller’s Ale House, and its manager, Edward Handlon), Jeff explained a concerning strategy being used more frequently by personal injury attorneys to preclude a lawsuit from being removed from state to federal court.
Jeff told Law360 “Unfortunately, especially in Philadelphia County (where juries are statistically much more liberal than those in federal court), we are seeing a growing trend of members of the plaintiff’s bar naming individual employees of a company in a state-based lawsuit for the sole purpose that the employee resides in the same state as the plaintiff — precluding the lawsuit from being removed to federal court on diversity grounds.”
Jeff explained further: “It is clear that Mr. Handlon was sued for the sole reason that he happened to live in Pennsylvania, as reflected in plaintiff’s written discovery (which does not pertain to Mr. Handlon in any way) and, perhaps more importantly, counsel’s emails expressly stating that he would voluntarily dismiss Mr. Handlon from this lawsuit without delay as long as we agreed to refrain from removing this case from Philadelphia County to federal court. In other words, plaintiff admittedly sued Mr. Handlon for the sole purpose of keeping this case in state court. In my opinion, this is a clear and unfortunate case of fraudulent joinder.”
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