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However, the plane crashed near Athens as had failed to pressurize. The representatives of those killed brought seven actions against Kakos in the district court for the Western District of Oklahoma…
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Memorandum Joshua Alter, Managing Partner First Year Associate The you submit your assignment Re: Dismissal on Grounds of forum non conveniens
Question Presented
Kakos flight 225 was en-route from Cyprus to Moscow making stopover in Greece. However, the plane crashed near Athens as had failed to pressurize. The representatives of those killed brought seven actions against Kakos in the district court for the Western District of Oklahoma. The legal issue in this matter is whether the district court should dismiss the action based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens. Instead the case should be referred to Greece or Cyprus courts for determination.
Short Answer
Yes, it is more convenient to hold the case in Greece or Cyprus as most of the public and private considerations for a dismissal on grounds of forum non conveniens are met.
Summary of the Facts
The Kakis Flight was enroute to Moscow from Russia and was making a stopover in Greece.
The plane crashed near Athens and the entire wreckage is still there.
Most of the passenger originated from Cyprus.
Some evidence documents are in Greek.
Both Cyprus and Greece communicate in the Greek language.
The courts will need to view the wreckage as a review of the evidence.
Test for Forum Non Conveniens
Accoding to Lear (2005) there are several factors that a courts examines to determine Forum Non Conveniens. These include:
Where is the plaintiffs and defendant home countries.
Where are the witnesses and evidence located?
How burdened is the local and receiving court system.
Which forum does the plaintiff favor for the hearing?
How each of the party’s case would be affected by the change of forum.
Public policy.
Discussion
Majority of the plaintiffs in the case are Cyprian citizens, while the Kokis Airline is also a Cyprian Airline. Thus, it would be more convenient for the defendants and plaintiffs to attend the court hearing in either Greece or Cyprus. According to Lear, the doctrine of forum non conveniens is supposed to provide convenience to the parties above all else (1147).
In Piper vs Reyno the fact that most of the evidence including the plane wreckage and witnesses could be found in Scotland or near Scotland was given as one of the grounds for granting forum non conveniens. Similarly, the plane wreckage is in Athens and since the flights took off from Cyprus, further evidence could be obtained from the ground crew there. Furthermore, some of the evidence is in Greek and Greek law will be applicable in some matters. In Piper vs Reyno, it was reasoned that an American jury will have a hard time understanding foreign laws. If the case is heard in the district court, Greek law would have to apply and it is in doubt if the jury would comprehend Greek law.
In Piper vs Reyno, American courts were cautioned against adjudicating foreign matters as this would place unnecessary burden on the American court system. In the case, both the defendant and plaintiffs are foreign citizens therefore meaning the US has little public interest in deciding the matter.
In this case, the plaintiffs favor the district court as here they would obtain ten times as much compensation and damages for the suit. However, in Piper vs Reyno it was ruled that plaintiff’s favored forum had little bearing on granting dismissal on grounds of forum non conveniens. If courts were to take plaintiffs choice of forums as weighty consideration then dismissal would be rare. Furthermore, in Yavuz vs 61 MM LTD it was help that claims do not have to be similar to those offered by the district courts for a foreign jurisdiction to be accessed as an adequate forum
In addition, the change of forum would not change either party’s case as plaintiffs could still make claims of negligence under Greek law. Moreover, the district of Oklahoma is also not a good forum as there is immense public interest in the case in Greece and Cyprus. In Piper v Reyno the courts considers the interest of Scottish authorities in the case to rule for dismissal.
Works Cited
Lear, Elizabeth T. "Congress, the Federal Courts, and Forum Non Conveniens: Friction on the Frontier of the Inherent Power." Iowa L. Rev. 91 (2005): 1147
Case law
Yavuz v. 61 MM, Ltd., Case No. 08-5161 (C.A. 10, August 13, 2009)
Piper Aircraft Co. v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235 (1981) Read More
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