Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Venue, Vidi, Vici -- Queens Over Kings

NK Acupuncture, P.C. a/a/o Taniya Smith-Jones v. Travelers Indem. Co.

(App. Term, 2nd Dept., decided 8/19/2008)

Plaintiff medical provider sued in Kings County Civil, the summons stating that the basis of venue in Kings County was "Defendant's residence". Travelers moved to change venue to Queens County, its in-house counsel affirming, "Uh uh, Travelers is a foreign corporation domiciled in Hartford, Connecticut." In response, plaintiff's counsel asserted "in a conclusory manner" that Travelers transacted business in Kings County and, thus, was a resident there.

In AFFIRMING the granting of Travelers' motion to change venue, the Appellate Term held:
By statute, a corporation, such as defendant, is "deemed a resident of any county wherein it transacts business, keeps an office, has an agency or is established by law" (CCA 305 [b]). Since defendant established that it did not "transact[] business" in, and was not a resident of, Kings County, the court below did not improvidently exercise its discretion in transferring the action to Queens County, where the assignor resided. Accordingly, the order entered September 13, 2006 granting defendant's motion to change the venue of the action to Queens County is affirmed.
The definition of undaunted, plaintiff's counsel moved for sanctions against Travelers for making its motion to change venue. The Appellate Term agreed with Kings Civil that "defendant's motion to change the venue of the action to Queens County did not, under the circumstances presented, constitute 'frivolous conduct' for which sanctions may be imposed[.]" What circumstances were those -- being right?

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