Although it’s an obvious concern, a plaintiff should always make sure that he’s both suing the proper party and filing his action in a court that has the authority to bring the selected party into court. When a plaintiff fails to assure either factor, he or she risks creating an avoidable hassle that ultimately delays recovery for his or her losses. In its recent ruling, Walden v. CSX Corporation, Inc., a Georgia federal court addressed whether to grant a defendant’s motion to dismiss in light of the fact the plaintiff appeared to make not one, but both, of the aforementioned errors.
Walden involved a train accident in Richmond County, Georgia in June 2012. On the 24th of that month, the plaintiff alleges that a train owned by the defendant, CSX Corporation, dragged him over 50 feet, resulting in injuries that required hospitalization. On the two-year anniversary of this accident, the plaintiff brought a personal injury suit against CSX, alleging negligence on the part of CSX. The case was originally filed in state court, but CSX had the case removed to federal court based on the diversity of citizenship of the parties. Following removal, CSX made a motion to dismiss, asserting various grounds for dismissal, including the court’s lack of personal jurisdiction. The plaintiff failed to respond to this motion, which strongly intimated that the plaintiff might have sued the wrong corporate entity.