Forum Non Conveniens Act Exposed
The Forum Non Conveniens Act was adopted by ALEC's Civil Justice Task Force at the Annual Meeting on August 12, 1999, approved by the full ALEC Board of Directors September, 1999. According to ALEC.org, the Act was re-approved by the Board of Directors on January 28, 2013. (Accessed on 2/18/2016).
CMD's Bill Summary
This bill authorizes a court to decline jurisdiction in a case with an out-of-state plaintiff if, in the interests of justice, an alternative out-of-state forum could more appropriately handle the matter.
ALEC Bill Text
Relating to the lawsuits arising outside or brought by persons who reside outside of
SECTION 1. FORUM NON CONVENIENS
(a) With respect to a plaintiff who is not a legal resident of the United States, if a court of this state, on written motion of a party, finds that in the interest of justice a claim or action to which this section applies would be more properly heard in a forum outside this state, the court may decline to exercise jurisdiction under the doctrine of forum non conveniens and may stay or dismiss the claim or action in whole or in part on any conditions that may be just.
(b) With respect to a plaintiff who is a legal resident of the United States, on written motion if a party, a claim or action to which this section applies may be stayed or dismissed in whole or in part under the doctrine of forum non conveniens if the party seeking to stay or dismiss the claim or action proves by preponderance of the evidence that:
- (1) an alternate forum exists in which the claim or action may be tried;
- (2) the alternate forum provides an adequate remedy;
- (3) maintenance of the claim or action in the courts of this state would work a substantial injustice to the moving party.
- (4) the alternate forum, as a result of the submission of the parties or otherwise, can exercise jurisdiction over all the defendants properly joined to the plaintiff’s claim;
- (5) the balance of the private interests of the parties and the public interest of the state predominate in favor of the claim or action being brought in an alternate forum and;
- (6) the stay or dismissal would not result unreasonable duplication or proliferation of litigation.
(c) The courts may set terms and conditions for staying or dismissing a claim or action brought under this section as the interests of justice may require, giving due regard to the rights of the parties to the claim or action. If a moving party violates a term or condition of a stay or dismissal, the court shall withdraw the order staying or dismissing the claim or action and proceed as if the order had never been issued. Notwithstanding any other law, the court shall have continuing jurisdiction for purposes of this subsection.
(d) A request for a stay or dismissal under this section is timely if it is filed not later than 180 days after the time required for filing a motion to transfer venue of the claim or action. The court may rule on a motion filed under this section only after hearing with notice to all parties not less than 21 days before the date specified for the hearing. The court shall afford all of the parties ample opportunity to obtain discovery of information relevant to the motion prior to a hearing on a motion under this section. The moving party shall have the responsibility to request and obtain a hearing on such a motion at a reasonable time prior to commencement of the trial, and in no case shall the hearing be held less than 30 days prior to trial.
(e) The court may not stay or dismiss a plaintiff’s claim under Subsection (b) if the plaintiff is a legal resident of this state. If an action involves both plaintiffs who are legal residents of this state and plaintiffs who are not, the court may not stay or dismiss the action under Subsection (b) if the plaintiffs who are legal residents of this state are properly joined in the action and the action arose out of a single occurrence. The court shall dismiss a claim under Subsection (b) if the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a party was joined solely for the purpose of obtaining or maintaining jurisdiction in this state and the party’s claim would be more properly heard in a forum outside this state.
(f) A court may not stay or dismiss a claim or action pursuant to Subsection (b);
- (1) if a party opposing the motion under Subsection (b) alleges and makes a prima facie showing that an act or omission that was a proximate or producing cause of the injury or death occurred in this state. The prima facie showing need not be made by a preponderance of this evidence and shall be deemed to be satisfied if the party produces credible evidence in support of the pleading, which evidence need not be in admissible form and may include affidavits, deposition testimony, discovery responses, or other verified evidence.
(g) Any time limit established by this section may be extended by the court at the request of any party for good cause shown.
(h) In this section:
- (1) “Legal resident” means an individual who intends the specified political subdivision to be his permanent residence and who intends to return to the specified political subdivision despite temporary residence elsewhere or despite temporary absences, without regard to the individual’s country of citizenship or national origin. The term does not include an individual who adopts a residence in the specified political subdivision in bad faith for purposes of avoiding the application of this section.
- (2) “Plaintiff” means a seeking recovery of damages for personal injury or wrongful death. In a cause of action in which a party seeks recovery of damages for personal injury or the wrongful death of another person, “plaintiff “ includes both that other person and the party seeking such recovery. The term does not include a counter-claimant, cross-claimant, or third party-party plaintiff or a person who is assigned a cause of action for personal injury, or who accepts an appointment as a personal representative in a wrongful death action, in bad faith for purposes of affecting in any way the application of this section.
(i) This section applies to actions for personal injury or wrongful death. This section shall govern the courts of this state in determining issues under the doctrine of forum non conveniens in the actions to which it applies, notwithstanding any other law.
(a) An action for damages for the death or personal injury of a citizen of this state, of the United States, or of a foreign country may be enforced in the courts of this state, although the wrongful act, neglect, or default causing the death or injury takes place in a foreign state or country, if:
- (1) a law of the foreign state or country or of the state gives a right to maintain an action for damages for the death or injury;
- (2) the action is begun in this state within the time provided by the laws of this state for beginning the action;
- (3) for a resident of a foreign state or country, the action is begun within the time provided by the laws of the foreign state or country in which the wrongful act, neglect, or default took place; and
- (4) in the case of a citizen of a foreign country, the country has equal treaty rights with the United States on behalf of its citizens.
(b) Excerpt as provided by Subsection (a), all matters pertaining to procedure in the prosecution or maintenance of the action in the courts of this state are governed by the law of this state.
Adopted by ALEC's Civil Justice Task Force at the Annual Meeting August 12, 1999.