Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
The common law doctrine of lex loci delicti in Texas is hereby overruled.
Gutierrez brought suit against Collins for damages for personal injuries suffered in an automobile accident that occurred in Zaragosa, State of Chihuahua, Mexico. Gutierrez alleged that the collision was caused by the negligence of Collins. Gutierrez and Collins are both residents of El Paso, Texas. The petition prayed for damages for medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, lost wages, and pain and suffering, or, in the alternative, for moral reparations as allowed under Mexican law, which was specifically pleaded. Collins filed a plea to the jurisdiction, arguing that the dissimilarity doctrine required dismissal of the case. At a hearing on this plea, the trial court received evidence concerning the laws of Mexico. The court then sustained Collins' plea to the jurisdiction and dismissed Gutierrez's suit. The court of civil appeals affirmed.
Could the doctrine of lex loci delicti be recognized as a defense in Texas?
The court overruled the common law doctrine of lex loci delicti. The court held that the dissimilarity doctrine, which allowed a court to refuse to enforce another state's laws because of their dissimilarity to its own laws, would no longer be recognized as a defense. The court reversed and remanded, holding that in the future all conflicts of law cases in tort would be governed by the "most significant relationship" test, which required the trial court to evaluate factors such as the place where the injury occurred, the parties' residence, and the place where the parties' relationship was centered, to determine what substantive law would apply.