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Choice of Law in the American Courts in 2007: Twenty-First Annual Survey


Symeon C. Symeonides


Willamette University - College of Law


American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 56, 2008

Abstract:     
This is the Twenty-First Annual Survey of American Choice-of-Law Cases. It covers cases decided by American state or federal courts from January 1 to December 31, 2007, and reported during the same period. Of the 3,676 conflicts cases meeting both of these parameters, the Survey focuses on the cases that deal with the choice-of-law part of conflicts law, and then discusses those cases that may add something new to the development or understanding of that part. The Survey is intended as a service to fellow teachers and students of conflicts law, both within and outside the United States. Its purpose is to inform rather than to advocate.

The following are among the cases reviewed in the Survey: A California Supreme Court decision involving recordings of cross border communications and another California case raising issues of cross-border discrimination in managing a web site; a product-liability decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court backtracking from its earlier pro-plaintiff decisions, and several other cases continuing to apply the pro-defendant law of the victim's home state and place of injury; several cases arising out of the events of September 11, 2001, and a few cases involving claims of torture (by them and us); the first guest statute conflict in years, as well as a case eerily similar to Schultz v. Boy Scouts of America, Inc.; two cases in which foreign plaintiffs succeeded, and many more cases in which US plaintiffs failed, to obtain certification of a nationwide class action; a case involving alienation of affections and one involving palimony between non-cohabitants; several cases involving deadly combinations of choice-of-law, choice-of-forum, and arbitration clauses; three cases involving the paternity or maternity of children born after artificial insemination, in three different combinations (known sperm donor, unknown sperm donor, and unknown egg donor); a case involving the child of a Vermont civil union and holding that DOMA does not trump the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act; a case involving the constitutionality of a Missouri statute affecting out-of-state abortions of Missouri minors; and one US Supreme Court decision allowing federal courts to dismiss on forum non conveniens grounds without first affirming their jurisdiction, and another decision exonerating Microsoft from patent infringement charges arising from partly foreign conduct.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 75

Keywords: choice of law, conflict of law, private international law, jurisdiction, extraterritorial, recognition of judgments, arbitration, products liability, class actions

JEL Classification: K1. K12, K13, K21, K31, K33, K41

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Date posted: January 2, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Symeonides, Symeon C., Choice of Law in the American Courts in 2007: Twenty-First Annual Survey. American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 56, 2008. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1079722

Contact Information

Symeon Symeonides (Contact Author)
Willamette University - College of Law ( email )
245 Winter St. SE
Salem, OR 97301
United States
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