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Law School Case Brief

Lamb v. Highlines Constr. Co - 541 So. 2d 269 (La. Ct. App. 1989)

Rule:

When determining whether a case should be transferred on the grounds of forum non conveniens, a trial judge should consider a number of factors. In every case, the plaintiff's choice of forum is entitled to great weight and should not be disturbed absent showing by the defendant that the convenience of all parties and the interests of justice require that the litigation should proceed elsewhere. In meeting that burden, the mover should address the following issues: 1. Convenience of the parties and witnesses; 2. Access to the sources of proof and evidence, as well as viewing of the premises, if required; 3. Costs of obtaining attendance of witnesses; and4. Advantages and obstacles to a fair trial.

Facts:

Plaintiff filed a personal injury action against defendant. The latter filed a motion to transfer the case to another trial court pursuant to La. Code Civ. Proc. Ann. art. 123 on the grounds of forum non conveniens. Defendant's motion to transfer the case to a parish that was contiguous to the parish of the trial court alleged that a transfer would best serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses, as well as the interests of justice. Although defendant did not allege any specific facts or circumstances to support its conclusory statement, the district court granted defendant's motion. Plaintiff sought appellate review.

Issue:

Did the district court err in granting the motion to transfer the case on the ground of forum non conveniens?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court held that the two forums were so close that it would be impossible for defendant to prove any substantial difference in terms of convenience of the parties, access to sources of proof, costs of obtaining attendance of witnesses, or advantages and obstacles to a fair trial. The court denied the motion to transfer the case because defendant failed to make a clear and convincing showing that the convenience of all the parties and the interests of justice demanded the transfer of the case to a different forum.

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