August 01, 2013 Articles

Attempts to Avoid Forum Non Conveniens Rejected

By Mark R. Irvine and Aghavni V. Kasparian

Lawsuits arising from international air disasters are often filed in the United States. As often, defendants rely on the common-law doctrine of forum non conveniens (FNC)—”a supervening venue provision”—to dismiss such cases in favor of litigation in a more suitable, foreign forum. Although FNC is an established doctrine, relative advantages of U.S. procedural and substantive law, not to mention the potential for greater recovery, continue to motivate plaintiffs to challenge application of the doctrine. Litigation arising from two recent air-disaster cases—West Caribbean Airways Flight 708 and the Air France crash over the mid-Atlantic—demonstrates the rejection of such challenges in two different circuits.

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