Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Case of the Day: Shi v. New Mighty United States Trust, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 7659 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 15, 2019)


The same case previously was appealed to the D.C. Circuit, which reversed the district court's dismissal for lack of jurisdiction. Upon reversal, the defendants moved to dismiss based on forum non conveniens grounds. The district court granted the motion, holding Taiwan was an adequate alternate forum.

The circuit court reversed the district court's dismissal, finding that the district court abused its discretion in granting the forum non conveniens motion. The court noted the motion was raised seven years after the litigation began, and the district court did not give due consideration for the plaintiff's choice of forum in Washington D.C., which was the only available forum to sue the defendants. (The defendants were not amenable to service in Taiwan, but agreed to submit to jurisdiction there for the purpose of their forum non conveniens motion.)


This case is bonkers. It's virtually unheard of to appeal a forum non conveniens decision and win. But it has been the case that the courts have been far too liberal in granting forum non conveniens motions, which were intended to be an extraordinary motion. Finally, there is a line somewhere.

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