Document Type

Article

Publication Year

2009

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, 2007, through September 30, 2008. The article excludes cases involving federal-state 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.

Although no data are readily available to confirm this, Texas is no doubt a primary state in the production of conflict-of-laws precedents. This results not only from its size and population, but also from its placement, bordering four states, a civil-law nation, and international shipping. Only California shares these factors, with the partial exception of the states bordering Quebec. Furthermore, Texas courts experience every range of conflict-of-laws litigation. In addition to a large number of opinions on garden variety examples of personal jurisdiction, Texas courts produce case law every year on internet-based jurisdiction, prorogating and derogating forum selection clauses, federal long-arm statutes with nationwide process, international forum non conveniens, parallel litigation, international family law issues, and private lawsuits against foreign sovereigns. Interstate and international judgment recognition and enforcement offer fewer annual examples, possibly a sign of that subject's administrative nature that results in only a few reported cases.

Texas state and federal courts provide a fascinating study of conflicts issues every year, but the volume of case law now greatly exceeds this Survey's ability to report on them, a function both of journal space and authors' time. Accordingly, this Survey period's article focuses on selective cases.

First Page

1021

Included in

Law Commons

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