Document Type

Article

Publication Year

1990

Journal Title

Southwestern Law Journal

Abstract

Conflicts of laws occur when foreign elements appear in a lawsuit. Nonresident litigants, incidents in sister states or foreign countries, and lawsuits from other jurisdictions represent foreign elements that may create problems of judicial jurisdiction, choice of law, or recognition of foreign judgments, respectively. This Article reviews Texas conflicts of law during the Survey period from late 1988 through 1989, discussing cases from Texas state and federal courts. The Article excludes cases involving federal-state conflicts, criminal law, intrastate matters such as subject matter jurisdiction and venue, and conflicts in time, such as the applicability of prior or subsequent law within a state. During the Survey period, judicial jurisdiction developments included the Fifth Circuit's adherence to the stream of commerce standard of Bean Dredging Corp. v. Dredge Technology Corp., despite its rejection by a plurality of the United States Supreme Court. Also in Schlobohm v. Schapiro, the Texas Supreme Court modified the Texas jurisdictional formula to parallel the federal constitutional standard. The Texas formula, previously set out in O'Brien v. Lanpar Co. , specifically provided for the assertion of specific jurisdiction only when the nonresident defendant's acts or transactions in Texas gave rise to or were connected with the cause of action. In Schlobohm, the court recognized that the previous formula was incomplete because it did not reflect the concept of general jurisdiction. The court therefore modified the O'Brien v. Lanpar formula to state that jurisdiction may be exercised over a nonresident defendant with continuous and systematic contacts with Texas, even if the cause of action does not arise from a specific contact.

Choice of law analysis continued its development under the most significant relationship test, with noteworthy decisions involving usury, statutes of limitation, the act of state doctrine, and the requisites for pleading foreign law. The area of foreign judgments endured a third ruling that the Uniform Foreign Country Money Judgment Recognition Act is unconstitutional, based on its failure to provide expressly for a plenary hearing prior to enforcement.

First Page

489

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