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Pennsylvania Superior Court Reverses Forum Non Conveniens Dismissal of International Air Crash Case, But Don’t Equate Pennsylvania with Cook County, Illinois (Just Yet)

On June 19, 2014 by Schnader

The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently reversed a grant of forum non conveniens (FNC) dismissal in an action arising out of an air crash in Portugal. The decision has caused some concern among the aviation defense bar over the possibility that Pennsylvania might be following in the footsteps of Cook County, Illinois, where FNC motions in international air crash cases are rarely successful. A review of the Superior Court’s decision, however, reveals faithful application of preexisting Pennsylvania law in its remand to the trial court for evaluation of what the Court found to be all potentially relevant factors. Eyes now will be focused intently on the trial court’s weighing of the private and public interest factors, which could play a significant role in determining whether Pennsylvania state courts will become more popular with the aviation plaintiffs’ bar in litigation arising out of international air accidents.

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