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Marconi v. United Airlines

Client: United Airlines/Sedgwick

Court: Workers’ Comp Court in Newark

Trial Attorney:  Prudence M. Higbee, Esq.

In the reported case of Marconi v. United Airlines, A-0110-18T4 (App. Div. July 22, 2019), the Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal of two claims against United Airlines for lack of jurisdiction. Richard Marconi lived in New Jersey and suffered a work injury to his left hip on January 31, 2015 working for United Airlines in Philadelphia.  United paid full benefits to Marconi under Pennsylvania law, but eventually Mrconi brought two claim petitions in New Jersey seeking permanency benefits that were not available in Pennsylvania.  One claim petition was for the accident in 2015 and the other was an occupational claim alleging work exposures from 1988 to the present.  Mr. Marconi admitted he was not hired in New Jersey and worked most of his career in Philadelphia, with only a brief period of employment at Dulles Airport.

United moved to dismiss both claim petitions for lack of jurisdiction in New Jersey.  Petitioner argued that even if residency alone was insufficient for a finding of jurisdiction, Professor Larson’s fourth factor, namely “place where the industry is localized,” in conjunction with petitioner’s residency in New Jersey is sufficient for a finding of jurisdiction.  However, the Appellate Division disagreed, explaining the concept of localization should be analyzed in terms of advancement of company interests, not its mere presence in the State. In this case, the Court found that, “nothing in the course of Marconi’s two-decade employment with United advanced the company’s localized interests in New Jersey.  In these circumstances, although United maintained a localized business interest in Newark, New Jersey has no substantial interest in exercising its jurisdiction over the petitions.”  As such, the Appellate Division affirmed the dismissals of both claim petitions.

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