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Speedy Resolution Doesn't Trump Forum Non Conveniens

01 Feb 2002

A terminally ill asbestos plaintiff from Shelby County filed suit in Madison County. The trial judge, apparently desirous of assuring the plaintiff would get his day in court while still alive, held that if he lived until December, "we'll give him a trial. If he doesn't make it until December, the case is transferred." The defendant's motion to transfer was thus denied, but the denial was reversed by the Fifth District. The focus on only one factor an expeditious trial was an abuse of discretion. Instead, the trial court should have considered all the private ad public-interest factors, like relative ease of access to sources of proof, accessibility of witnesses, possibility of a jury trip to view the premises, localized controversies decided in a local forum, and not imposing jury duty on residents of a county having little connection to the litigation. Burns v. A.P. Green Industries, Inc., No. 5-00-0548, 2001 WL 1671641 (Dec. 26. 2001).

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