Document Type

Article

Publication Year

2012

Journal Title

SMU Law Review

Abstract

States' and nations' laws collide when foreign factors appear in a lawsuit. Non-resident 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 conflict cases from state and federal courts in Texas during the Survey period from November 1, 2010 through October 31, 2011. The Article excludes cases involving (1) federal-state conflicts; (2) intrastate issues, such as subject matter jurisdiction and venue; and (3) 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 is readily available to confirm this, Texas is certainly 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, as well as a civil-law nation, and its involvement in international shipping. Only California shares these factors, with the partial exception of the states bordering Quebec. Texas courts experience every range of conflict-of-laws litigation. In addition to a large number of opinions on the 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-the lack of reported cases on this subject is likely a function of its administrative nature.

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 the authors' time. Accordingly, this Survey's article focuses on selective cases.

First Page

391

Included in

Law Commons

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