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Even the fact that a corporation has its principal place of business in Florida does not necessarily preclude application of the doctrine of forum non conveniens. Instead, the trial court should gauge the situation using the "balance of conveniences" approach.
Kinney System, Inc., a Delaware corporation, was sued by Continental Insurance Company, a New Hampshire corporation, in Florida circuit court over a dispute involving workers compensation premiums. Both parties were registered to do business in Florida: Continental Insurance operated parking garages in Dade County, and Kinney System operated a claims office in south Florida. The trial court dismissed Continental Insurance’s suit based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens. On appeal, the district court of appeal reversed the trial court's decision and certified a question for review.
Is a trial court precluded from dismissing an action on the basis of forum non conveniens where one of the parties is a foreign corporation that has its principal place of business in Florida?
The state supreme court examined the federal doctrine of forum non conveniens and the common law in Florida. The then-existing law in Florida did not permit removal of a lawsuit if the defendant was a Florida resident, but gave no such protection if the defendant was a non-Florida resident. The court found the result of the common law rule incompatible with the interest of protecting Florida residents. The court therefore adopted the federal rule and remanded the district court's reversal of the trial court's dismissal. The court also attached the revised rule as an appendix to its opinion.