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In a diversity suit, the court must apply the choice of law rules of the forum state to determine what substantive law to apply. However, when an action is transferred under 28 U.S.C.S. § 1404, the transferee court must apply the choice of law rules of the transferor court.
A vehicle owned by Rhonda Beasley and operated by Robert Allen, Jr. was struck from behind by a moving truck operated by Danny Naor and owned by Ryder TRS, Inc. ("Ryder"). Plaintiffs, operator and relatives of deceased passengers, filed survivor and wrongful death suits against defendants in Louisiana. These suits were removed to federal court and consolidated. Beasley sued defendants in the Eastern District of New York. That action was transferred to the Eastern District of Louisiana and consolidated with the other suits.
Was N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 388 applicable to hold Ryder vicariously liable for the negligence of Naor?
The court applied Louisiana choice of law rules to the Louisiana actions and New York choice of law rules to the New York actions. The court held the conflict of law rules of both Louisiana and New York indicated that Louisiana's law was applicable because the accident occurred in Louisiana between domiciliaries of different states.