Why Where the Penn State Hazing Case is Heard Matters


Penn State University is being sued by the estate of a student who died there during a hazing incident.

The incident itself occurred in Blair County Pa. a very conservative area for judicial activity and jury verdicts.

It is alleged that the deceased had to drink an excessive amount of alcohol chug bottles of Listerine and swallow life fish as part of his hazing ritual.
Again these alleged incidents occurred at the Penn State Altoona campus.

The estate through its attorneys filed this lawsuit against Penn State in Philadelphia County.
Philadelphia PA is widely known as a very plaintiff oriented city for jury verdicts.

Philadelphia County has even been called a judicial hellhole by the defense industry for the excessive verdicts that juries give there.

Therefore it should surprise no one that the estate of the deceased young man filed the lawsuit in Philadelphia.
After all what better way to get an extremely high jury verdict then having it heard in a county that is known for its high jury verdicts.

Penn State University on the other hand has recently filed a motion to transfer the case to Blair County where the incident actually occurred.
Penn State is arguing that the witnesses are all from that area, that is in fact where the incident occurred, and that is where the case logically should be heard.

Pittsburgh wrongful death, medical malpractice, slip and fall and criminal defense attorney Bernie Tully wants you to know that this decision by a Philadelphia County judge is probably going to make or break the case.

If the judge rules that the case should be heard in Philadelphia County, Penn State had better consider getting out its checkbook.
A jury verdict there could be in the millions of dollars.

Also it’s rather unlikely that there’s going to be much sympathy for Penn State University in Philadelphia County.

If the case in fact is transferred to Blair County Pa. however this would radically affect Penn State’s strategy about the case.

First the jury is much more likely to be sympathetic to Penn State in Blair County because of its natural geographic location to the school.

Second even if there is a jury verdict against Penn State it almost certainly will be much lower than the jury verdict in Philadelphia County.

There may be legal reasons outside of those arguments, but as a practical matter Pittsburgh wrongful death, medical malpractice, slip and fall and criminal defense attorney Bernie Tully thinks it’s abundantly clear that that’s the real motive behind the defendant wishing to transfer the case to Blair County.

I really don’t think that the jury convenience or witness convenience is the overall major concern of the defendant in this case.

Sometimes people who do not know much about the system might think what does it matter where the case is heard.

After all the case has still got to be heard by 12 people who are not interested or biased in the outcome of the case right?


In fact I would venture to say that that is the most important part of this whole case so far.

Well that’s how I see it.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading as always.

Bernie the attorney