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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
New York State Courts by Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP
Posted: December 20, 2019

First Department Upholds Forum Non Conveniens Dismissal

On December 12, 2019, the First Department issued a decision in JTS Trading Ltd. v. Asesores, 2019 NY Slip Op. 08935, upholding a dismissal on forum non conveniens grounds, explaining:

In determining whether an action should be dismissed for forum non conveniens, plaintiff’s choice of forum is entitled to strong deference. Among the factors to consider are the residence of the parties, the location of evidence and witnesses, the burden on the New York courts, where the transaction giving rise to the cause of action took place, the applicability of foreign law, and the connection of the action with New York.

Here, the parties are from Hong Kong and Mexico. The agreement allegedly breached was executed in Mexico, is governed by Mexican law, and was allegedly breached in Mexico. Only a single, peripheral witness is present in New York. Accordingly, despite some initial contacts with one defendant’s New York representative, the action was properly dismissed.

(Internal citations omitted).

Disputes regarding commercial contracts involving out-of-state and international parties end up being heard in New York courts. Even if the court has the power to assert jurisdiction of the parties, it can, under the forum non conveniens doctrine discussed above, dismiss the dispute so it can be heard in a forum that is more convenient for the parties. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at jlundin@schlamstone.com if you or a client face a situation where you are unsure whether New York is the appropriate forum in which a dispute should be heard.

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