Federal Civil Procedure-Venue-Effect of 1948 Judicial Code Definition of Corporate Residence on Venue Under the Jones Act

Plaintiff seaman, having been injured while serving on a vessel owned and operated by the defendant corporations, brought a civil action in federal district court alleging claims for negligence under the Jones Act, for unseaworthiness, and for maintenance and cure. The venue provision of the Jones Act requires that actions under it be brought in the district in which the defendant employer resides or in which his principal office is located. Plaintiff filed his complaint in the Western District of Pennsylvania although defendants were incorporated and maintained their principal offices in Louisiana. Defendants’ motions to dismiss on the ground of improper venue were granted by the trial court. On appeal, held, affirmed. While in the 1948 revision of the Federal Judicial Code the definition of corporate residence for venue purposes was expanded to include any district in which a corporation is “doing business,” this definition is not applicable when determining where a corporate employer resides within the meaning of the venue provision of the Jones Act. Leith v. Oil Transp. Co., 321 F.2d 591 (3d Cir. 1963).