January 06, 2017 Articles

Recent Developments in Aviation Litigation: Forum Non Conveniens

By Erika Maurice and Vincent Lesch

Forum non conveniens is an equitable doctrine that allows a court to decline jurisdiction where it would otherwise be proper when the court deems, in its discretion, that the action could be more appropriately tried in another forum. Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 504 (1947). Courts must first determine whether an alternative forum is adequate and available, and then must weigh the private interests of the litigants and the public interest in having the case heard in each forum. Piper Aircraft Co. v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 241 n.6 (1981). The Supreme Court recently clarified that a modified forum non conveniens analysis, balancing only public interest factors, is also relevant when evaluating forum selection clauses pointing to nonfederal forums. Atl. Marine Const. Co. v. U.S. Dist. Ct. for W. Dist. of Tex., 134 S. Ct. 568, 580 (2013).

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