Sushi Chef Sues SEPTA for Setback

Train leaving station

A 55-year-old sushi chef from Queens, Hing Piu Wong, has filed suit against the Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), alleging that the mass transit authority was negligent and caused him injury.

According to documents filed by Wong in his hometown of Queens, Wong was traveling on a SEPTA train from Philadelphia to Claymont, Delaware on October 20, 2015. Wong alleges that, when he arrived in Claymont and tried to disembark, he discovered that the train was leaning away from the platform, causing a significant gap. Nonetheless, he tried to span the gap and leave the train, but fell on the platform, dislocating his right wrist. Wong further alleges that, at the time of the injury, he was working as a sushi chef. Because of the pain associated with the injury, and because he required two surgeries to repair the damage, he was forced to give up his job.

For the time being, it appears that the lawsuit will remain in the Queens court. Under New York law, a New York court has appropriate jurisdiction over a defendant if the defendant is an out-of-state entity conducting business in the state. SEPTA attorneys had asked the Queens court to dismiss the complaint, arguing that SEPTA did not serve New York. The court, however, denied the motion to dismiss, citing the fact that SEPTA sells tickets from a window at New York’s Penn Station.

SEPTA had also argued that litigating the action would be more convenient for all parties in Pennsylvania, but the Queens court disagreed, finding that Wong’s inability to speak English would make it a greater hardship for him to have to pursue legal action elsewhere.

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