Document Type

Article

Publication Year

2004

Journal Title

SMU Law Review

Abstract

States' and nations' laws collide when foreign factors appear in a lawsuit. Nonresident litigants, incidents outside the forum, parallel lawsuits, and judgments from other jurisdictions can create problems with personal jurisdiction, choice of law, and the recognition of foreign judgments. This article reviews Texas conflicts cases from Texas state and federal courts during the Survey period from October 1, 2002, through November 1, 2003. The article excludes cases involving federalstate conflicts, intrastate issues such as subject matter jurisdiction and venue, and conflicts in time, such as the applicability of prior or subsequent law within a state. State and federal cases are discussed together because conflict of laws is mostly a state law topic, except for a few constitutional limits, resulting in the same rules applying to most issues in state and federal courts.

The Survey period saw an expansive litigation of forum contests, including nine cases based on agency, alter ego, or corporate relationship. In choice of law, the United States Supreme Court issued what may be its most important ruling in fifty years, holding that the forum state may apply its own law without balancing the competing interests of other states, diminishing the constitutional role of interest analysis in choice of law. Texas state and federal courts continued their development of the most significant relationship test, including an unusual application of choice of law to fraudulent joinder in a federal diversity case. Foreign judgments cases followed a similar pattern of routine application of the uniform acts, but with instructive holdings in several areas of commercial litigation, arbitration and family law.

First Page

719

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