Philly Is Wrong Venue For Cancer Emissions Suit, Court Says

A Pennsylvania appeals court affirmed the transfer of a proposed class action alleging that toxic emissions from a B. Braun Medical Inc. plant in Lehigh County caused neighbors to develop cancer, saying the company didn’t do enough business in Philadelphia County.

A three-judge Superior Court upheld a Philadelphia County judge’s decision to transfer to Lehigh County a suit filed by Mourad Abdelaziz alleging that B. Braun Medical’s “dangerous and reckless emission of ethylene oxide” used to sterilize medical equipment and devices exposed numerous people living near the company’s Allentown facility to a toxic gas that puts them at an increased risk of developing cancer.

Abdelaziz argues that the trial court erred by finding that B. Braun Medical did not regularly conduct business in Philadelphia County, which warranted a transfer to Lehigh County. Abdelaziz said the court did not take into consideration the services the company sold in Philadelphia County, only its products.

However, the panel disagreed, saying the trial court followed the state’s legal precedent when it found that because B. Braun Medical had less than 1% of its total sales in Philadelphia County, the case warranted a transfer to Lehigh County.

The appeals court rejected Abdelaziz’s argument that a Superior Court case called Hangey — which found in March that the percentage of a company’s overall business in a given county alone should not determine venue — supported keeping the case in Philadelphia County.


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