Seventh Circuit Review


To prevent plaintiffs from harassing the defendant or engaging in forum-shopping, the common law doctrine of forum non conveniens permits trial courts to dismiss a foreign plaintiff's suit, over which it would normally have jurisdiction, if both the parties' convenience and the ends of justice are best served by dismissal. Supreme Court precedent requires courts to weigh a number of private and public interest factors, and gives foreign plaintiffs less deference in their choice of forum than a domestic plaintiff. Applying this test in Abad v. Bayer Corporation, the Seventh Circuit upheld the dismissal of two cases involving Argentinean plaintiffs who brought product liability claims against American corporations in U.S. courts. Abad illustrates that the nature of the doctrine and the lenient standard of appellate review of forum non conveniens decisions give district courts too much discretion in determining whether dismissal is warranted. This Comment will highlight inconsistencies between the district court decisions affirmed in Abad, and it proposes that the Seventh Circuit should adjust the doctrine to ensure that district courts apply a consistent framework by (1) returning to the original conception of the doctrine set forth in Gilbert, (2) using a nation-to-nation analysis of the relative public interests, (3) adopting the Second Circuit's sliding scale approach to the less deference rule, and (4) refusing to consider parties' willingness to make concessions.

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ShouldTheyStay.mp3 (15934 kB)
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