Sunday, August 06, 2006

Natalee Holloway Civil Case: Not in New York.

Back in March I posted THIS POST about the civil case filed by the parents of Natalee Holloway. As I noted then, the problem seemed to be that the parents are from Alabama, suing two men from Aruba, for actions they believe occurred in Aruba, and using Alabama law. But the suit was filed in New York state court.

As TalkLeft has reported, the judge in New York has granted the motion to dismiss, concluding that New York is, in fact, not the appropriate forum for this case. According to CBS News Online:

The lawsuit was dismissed by Judge Barbara Kapnick, who said it shouldn't have been filed in Manhattan. She rejected an argument that if the case were filed in Aruba, it would prompt a media frenzy that could interfere with the investigation.

Kapnick said taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for a case "when their interest in the suit... is so ephemeral."


Blogger rephioh said...

Several claims for jurisdiction were made by the H/T family's attorney, according to reports. One claim was that the VDS family had come to New York City to do business with the network that had invited them. They were to be paid for their appearance; they were not merely tourists. That seems to be a good hook for jurisdiction. Did Justice Kapnick igore it?

5:01 PM  
Blogger Kierkegaard Lives said...

The issue of personal jurisdiction over non-residents is always a very complicated matter, even in more "run of the mill" cases. The question usually turns on a determination of the significance of one's contacts with the forum state (here New York), and is never simply a matter of getting paid for an appearance or merely visiting/tourist.

I have not yet seen a copy of the actual order anywhere, so I can't comment on whether Justice Kapnick ignored this alleged basis for jurisdiction. However, I do know that personal jurisdiction often requires a consideration of a number of factors, that include the significance of relationship with the forum state generally, as well as the relationship between the jurisdiction and the particular lawsuit itself. In this case, New York literally had absolutely no connection at all to the lawsuit, to any of the evidence or witnesses, or to the plaintiffs. Assuming that you are correct that the VDS family was there for "business," there may have been some tangential relationship between New York and the VDS family, but if this was a sort of "one time" deal, or "first time" deal or very limited relationship, it likely is not enough to justify taking personal jurisdiction for this suit.

10:17 PM  

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