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LGST 219 - Class 17 Notes

LGST 219 - Class 17 Notes - CLASS 17(Nov 9 Forum...

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CLASS 17 (Nov. 9) : Forum Non-Conveniens Dismissals 1] The problem is that TNCs lower standards when they go to the “Global South”. a. ATCA statues are a way to hold these companies liable for their behavior. b. Another way is to allow foreigners to bring ordinary tort cases , allowing them access to U.S. courts. (b.i) Can people harmed by the low standards of work and operation in another country go to the U.S. forum and get relief there because of the high standards that exist in the US? Should the court in the country that has higher standards, keep its door open to these suits? (b.ii) We are not talking about ATCA suits here. We're talking about tort suits. c. The U.S. is very plaintiff friendly, so defendants are eager to get out of the U.S. system in tort cases due to things like: (c.i) Damages – in the U.S. they are very high (c.ii) Jury – the US uses juries in civil cases, who award high damages (c.iii) Discovery laws – can force defendants to spill a lot of information and can harass them (c.iv) Contingency Lawyers – you can afford to hire lawyers who will work on a contingency fee d. But, we are seeing a tendency of U.S. courts to say no to foreigners who have experienced harms overseas. U.S. courts are too overcrowded. The U.S. cannot become a forum for all these people receiving injuries abroad. 2] The U.S. courts are giving out a lot of forum non conveniens dismissals . But, by doing this, we are sending out a message to TNCs telling them that when you’re overseas it is ok to lower your standards because you will not be sued in U.S. courts, so you should not be worried. We will not allow foreigners to bring suits against you. a. These companies would certainly not lower their standards in the U.S. because here we have enormous tort liabilities for acting irresponsibly. Our tort system is a mechanism for encouraging companies to not jeopardize health safety and the environment. b. But it is different if the American company is operating overseas. 3] Forum non-conveniens only applies when we have jurisdiction over the defendant. If we don’t have jurisdiction, then we don’t even go so far as the issue of forum non- conveniens.
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a. Even though courts may have jurisdiction, however, they still might view the forum as inconvenient. 4] When you choose to go to the U.S. court, the thinking is that you will get the procedural standards of the U.S. such as discovery, contingent fee lawyers, juries, etc. a. People don’t really believe that they will also get the benefit of U.S. laws . Although sometimes this may be the case.
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