Monday, May 4, 2009
On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld a District Court's decision to dismiss a consolidated lawsuit by Argentineans against U.S. corporations in favor of litigation in Argentine courts pursuant to the doctrine of forum non conveniens. The Abad lawsuit is a class action against Bayer Corporation in which 600 plaintiff hemophiliacs (or their deceased) alleged that they were infected with the AIDS virus when using defendants' blood clotting factors because defendants failed to take appropriate steps to eliminate the virus. The Pastor case is a wrongful death suit against Bridgestone/Firestone relating to allegedly faulty tires that caused a fatal automobile accident. While acknowledging the presumption in favor of the plaintiffs' choice of forum, the Court weighed a number of factors and ultimately held that the balance of interests tipped in favor of litigation in Argentina. The Court noted that the alleged torts occurred in Argentina, many of the witnesses are located there, and Argentinean law would apply to the dispute. The Court stated that the plaintiffs were being required to litigate in their home forum, which should not impose greater difficulties or costs. The Seventh Circuit's decision can be found here.