Determining the appropriate circuit court in which to file a Maryland personal injury action depends on several factors. In certain situations, the plaintiff’s initial choice of venue may be transferred to another court at the request of a defendant. In a September 23, 2021 opinion, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland reviewed whether a circuit court had properly granted the defendant’s motion for a change of venue.
The plaintiff in the case alleged that he suffered injuries as a result of a forklift accident at the defendant’s warehouse, which was located in Howard County. The accident occurred as the plaintiff was moving boxes onto a loading dock. At the same time, an employee of the defendant was operating a forklift to transport trash from the loading dock. The plaintiff claimed that the employee struck and rolled over the plaintiff with the forklift, causing bodily injuries.
The plaintiff filed a negligence action against the employee operating the forklift and the defendant in the circuit court for Prince George’s County. The defendant subsequently moved to transfer venue to Howard County, arguing that its principal place of business is in Howard County, the accident occurred in Howard County, and at least some witnesses would be from Howard County. When the court granted the motion, the plaintiff appealed.
In Maryland, the court may transfer any action to another other circuit court where the action might have been brought if it is for the convenience of the parties and witnesses, and it serves the interests of justice. When evaluating a motion to transfer, the court will consider whether the plaintiff resides in the forum where he chose to file suit, whether the defendant resides in the proposed choice of forum, the location where the cause of action arose, the convenience of the parties and witnesses, and the ease of access to evidence.
On appeal, the court first noted that the plaintiff resides in Baltimore City, not Prince George’s County. The court concluded that because the accident occurred in Howard County, any witnesses to the accident would likely not be inconvenienced by appearing in a Howard County courtroom. The appeals court also found that, aside from the employee’s place of residence, the case had no other connection to Prince George’s County, and that the employee had not complained that the transfer to Howard County would be inconvenient. Ultimately, when comparing these factors with the fact that Howard County was the location of the accident, the defendant’s principle place of business, and the likely location of witnesses, the transfer of venue was appropriate. The court therefore affirmed the lower court’s decision to transfer the case from Prince George’s County to Howard County.
If you were injured by the negligent actions of another individual or a business, you may seek compensation for your medical expenses and other damages. At Foran & Foran, P.A., our Maryland injury lawyers can explain your legal options and help you recover your losses after an car crash or premises liability accident. Schedule a free appointment with an experienced attorney by calling our office at (301) 441-2022 or contacting Foran & Foran online.