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MSZLM Multi-State Practice Scores A Victory In Two States At Both Trial And Appellate Level In Same Case

Mar 15, 2022 - About the Firm by Bradley K. Shafer

The New Jersey and Wheeling Offices teamed up for a double win for a client.  Plaintiff, a resident of Ohio, was involved in a multi-vehicle motor vehicle accident in Pennsylvania.  He filed a personal injury claim against our client and several other entities in federal court in Ohio.  Bradley Shafer of the Wheeling Office filed a motion to dismiss arguing the Ohio federal court lacked jurisdiction over the matter. Another defendant joined in Shafer’s motion.

The federal judge in Ohio agreed with Shafer and dismissed the case.  The statute of limitations had expired and the judge opted not to transfer the case to a federal court that did have jurisdiction.  Plaintiff appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and Shafer convinced the appellate court to uphold the ruling and keep the matter dismissed.  Plaintiff then appealed for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court which was denied.

After all of this, Plaintiff re-filed the case in state court in New Jersey where the client is located.  New Jersey has a legal doctrine known as the doctrine of substantial compliance that forgives plaintiffs who miss the statute of limitations deadline if a good faith effort or “substantial compliance” was exerted by plaintiff to comply with the deadlines.  Shafer transferred the file to Christopher Gulla of the New Jersey Office to continue the fight.  The case was removed from state court to federal court in New Jersey.  Gulla responded with another motion to dismiss arguing the plaintiff cannot re-file his case in New Jersey after litigating all the way to the US Supreme Court in Ohio over the issue of jurisdiction.  Gulla informed the New Jersey federal judge of the rulings by the federal judge in Ohio and his decision not to transfer the case even though the statute of limitations had expired.  Gulla argued that the plaintiff’s decision to litigate the issue of jurisdiction for five years rather than seek to transfer the case to the proper venue prohibits the plaintiff from now arguing “substantial compliance” to ignore the statute of limitations and keep the case alive.  The New Jersey federal judge agreed and dismissed the case again.

Mintzer Sarowitz Zeris Ledva & Meyers LLP has offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Florida, Maryland and West Virginia, handling litigation throughout the United States.  This case is the perfect example of the comradery and coordination between MSZLM’s offices and how MSZLM can successfully defend a client in multiple states, in both state and federal court, and at the trial court and appellate level.