Foreign Country Ruled The Appropriate Forum For Damages Sustained in Dubai (NY)

In Boyle v. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., New York’s Appellate Division, Second Department affirmed the granting of defendant’s motion to dismiss the action on the basis of forum nonconveniens. The Appellate Division explained that the doctrine of forum nonconveniens allows a court to stay or dismiss an action when, although there may be jurisdiction, it is determined that there is another forum with closer ties to the case. In Boyle, plaintiffs are residents of the United Kingdom and France. The complaint alleges that plaintiffs contracted a disease during separate stays at defendant’s hotel in Dubai. The sole connection to New York in this case was defendant’s principal place of business.

The trial court granted defendant’s motion, noting that the action had closer ties to the United Kingdom, France or the United Arab Emirates. The Appellate Division conditioned the order on the the defendant accepting service in any new action and waiving any defenses, including statute of limitations, that were not available when suit was initially filed in New York. Both modifications provided that the new action  should be commenced within 30 days after defendant provided plaintiff with a signed stipulation.

When filing a motion to dismiss based upon forum nonconveniens in New York, make sure that you are comfortable with the jurisdiction you believe is proper for the case because you will be required to agree to the alternate forum’s jurisdiction should your motion be granted.

Thanks to Alison Weintraub for her contribution to this post. If you have any questions, please email Paul at pclark@wcmlaw.com