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Law School Case Brief

Haag v. Barnes - 9 N.Y.2d 554, 216 N.Y.S.2d 65, 175 N.E.2d 441 (1961)


The courts, instead of regarding as conclusive the parties' intention or the place of making or performance, lay emphasis rather upon the law of the place which has the most significant contacts with the matter in dispute.


Dorothy Haag entered into an agreement with Norman Barnes for the support of a child born out of wedlock. The parties agreed that the laws of the state of Illinois would govern their agreement. In opposition to the court's grant of Barnes’ motion to dismiss, appellant contended that New York, not Illinois, law applied; and that the agreement in question was not a sufficient basis for a motion to dismiss under either New York City, N.Y., Crim. Ct. Act § 63 or N.Y. Dom. Rel. Law § 121.


Was the motion to dismiss properly granted on the basis of traditional conflicts rule?




The court held that the motion to dismiss was properly granted. Haag could not upset a support agreement, which was itself perfectly consistent with the public policy of New York, which was entered into in Illinois with the understanding that it would be governed by the laws of that state and which constituted a bar to a suit for further support under Illinois law. The agreement, in so many words, recited that it "shall in all respects be interpreted, construed and governed by the laws of the state of Illinois" and, since it was also drawn and signed by Haag in Illinois, the traditional conflicts rule would treat those factors as conclusive and result in the application of Illinois law.

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