9th%20Circ%20Court%20of%20Appeals%20Decision

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1 of 1 DOCUMENT GILLIAN B. LOYA, as Personal representative of the Estate of Ricardo D. Loya, de- ceased and as Litigation Guardian Ad Litem for I.L. and G.L., the surviving minor children of the decedant, Ricardo D. Loya; Estate of RICHARD D. LOYA, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS WORLDWIDE, INC., doing business as Westin Hotel Company, doing business as Westin Regina Golf Beach Resort and Club Regina Westin Hotel Company doing business as West- in Regina Golf and Spa Resort; CORPORATION MEXITURE SA DE CV, doing business as Xplora Adventours Los Cabos; PADI WORLDWIDE; PADI AMER- ICAS; JOHN DOES; RAINTREE RESORTS INTERNATIONAL INC, doing busi- ness as Club Regina WESTIN HOTEL MANAGEMENT LP; WHISKI JACK RE- SORTS AND CLUB Consent to Service; RESORT CONDOMINIUMS INTERNA- TIONAL LLC; DOUGLAS BECH; RAINTREE VACATION CLUB; WALKER HARMON, Defendants-Appellees. No. 07-35571 UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT 583 F.3d 656 ; 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 21643; 2009 AMC 2572 August 21, 2009, Resubmitted, Seattle, Washington October 2, 2009, Filed PRIOR HISTORY: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. D.C. No. CV-06-00815-MJP. Marsha J. Pechman, District Judge, Presiding. October 21, 2008, Argued and Submitted; October 30, 2008, Submission Vacated. Loya v. Starwood Hotels & Resorts, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49012 (W.D. Wash., July 6, 2007) DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED. CASE SUMMARY: PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Plaintiff, the personal representative of her deceased husband's estate, appealed a judg- ment form the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington dismissing the estate's suit under the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA), 46 U.S.C.S. § 30301 et seq., under the doctrine of forum non conveniens. The complaint also asserted claims under the Washington Consumer Protection Act and the Washington Timeshare Act. OVERVIEW: A Washington resident died on vacation while scuba diving off the coast of Mexico on an expedition ar- ranged by the resort at which he was staying. The decedent's wife, as his estate's personal representative, sought to es- tablish liability under DOSHA for the death of an American on the high seas. The district court held that DOHSA ac- tions fell within the admiralty jurisdiction of the federal courts and, whether or not DOHSA applied to the action, the suit was subject to discretionary dismissal based on forum non conveniens. On appeal, the court held that the doctrine of forum non conveniens could be invoked in DOSHA actions and that the district court did not clearly abuse its discretion in applying it. DOSHA authorized civil actions in admiralty, and the doctrine of forum non conveniens was well accep- ted in admiralty law. DOHSA did not entitle the wife to have her case heard in a United States court. Weighing private and public interest factors, the court agreed that Mexico, the place where the accident occurred, provided an adequate alternate forum, despite the fact that Mexico severely capped recoveries in wrongful death suits.
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OUTCOME: The court affirmed.
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