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Court Rules Against Supermarket Company in Premises Liability Case

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A Pennsylvania court has denied the motion of a defendant supermarket management company to dismiss a personal injury claim in that state and require that it be re-filed in New Jersey. Counsel for the defendants has filed another motion to dismiss, which is pending.

According to court records, Jennifer Cooke, a New Jersey resident, was buying groceries at the Shop-Rite of Laurel Hill, in Clementon, New Jersey in September, 2014, when she slipped and fell on the floor, suffering injuries to her back, spine and shoulder. Cooke brought a personal injury lawsuit in Pennsylvania, naming Wakefern Food Corporation as defendant.

Attorneys for the defense say that Wakefern should not have been named as a defendant, as Wakefern is a cooperative, owned by a group of individually-owned supermarkets, including the Shop-Rite. They say, however, that the owner of the Shop-Rite where Cooke was hurt, Zallie Supermarkets, Inc., does not do business in Pennsylvania, and cannot be a defendant in Pennsylvania.

Attorneys for Wakefern note that the plaintiff is a New Jersey resident; the named defendant (Wakefern) is headquartered in Keasbey, New Jersey; the proper defendant (Zallie) is located in Clementon, New Jersey; and the accident occurred in New Jersey. They contend that a Pennsylvania court cannot have jurisdiction of a personal injury claim that has no connection with the state. The plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of arbitration limits.

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