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Conflicts of Law
Villanova University School of Law
Brogan, Doris DelTosto

                                                        Conflicts of Law….
 
Characteristics of a good choice of law protocol/Analysis: 
·         Uniformity
·         Predictability
·         Simplicity
·         Neutrality
·         Discouraging Forum Shopping
·         Externality
·         Fairness
·         Appropriateness
 
 
Case Example – Alabama Great Southern R.R. Co. v. Carroll (Ala. 1892) (train track injury Case)
FACTS: Employees of the railroad negligently failed to inspect car links in Alabama, and plaintiff was injured in Mississippi where a defective link broke. Under the law of Mississippi, plaintiff could not recover because Mississippi had the common law fellow-servant rule; however, plaintiff could recover in Alabama because Alabama had a statute abrogating the fellow-servant rule.
   RULE= Where a negligent act is committed in one state, but causes injury in another, an action seeking damages for injuries sustained as a result of the act my be brought only in the state in which the result is manifested, and not where the act was committed.
HOLDING: The SC of Alabama applied the law of Mississippi because that state was the place of injury, even though every other important contact (plaintiff’s residence, defendant’s residence, the K of employment, and the negligent act) was located in Alabama, and even though it was purely fortuitous that the injury occurred in Mississippi rather than a few miles earlier in Alabama
    
              Alabama: Forum, P’s domicile, ∆ incorporated, ∆ does biz, part of trip, empmt K made, Link already defective, Er liable for neg of fellow servant.
              Miss: ∆ does biz, Part of trip, Link breaks causing injury.
                   If Miss law applies π is out of court and ∆ may by judgment proof.
Lex Loci delectus= Place of the tort… or place where the Tort was committed. —-
                             Place of injury? Negligence? Wrongful conduct?
Magic moments approach… – moment of the injury.. when legal rights were vested to the π.
             Legislative authority is defined Territorially, we can localize the multistate transaction (by specific facts)
                **Tort law (place of injury) v. Contract law (place contract was made)
 
 
 
   Milliken v. Pratt (Mass. 1878) ( wife promises to pay for husband’s contract case)
Facts: Husband, a Mass. domicile, sought to purchase goods on credit from plaintiffs, merchants domiciled in Maine. Before extending credit to the husband, Ps required guarantee of wife. She executed a written agreement at her home in Mass., and husband mailed it to Ps in ME. Ps sold goods to Husband and when they were not pid for, Ps went after the wife.
Conflicting Laws: Mass. law indicated that a married woman could not guarantee her husband’s debts. However, ME law indicated that a married woman could contract as if she were unmarried.
Holding: The court held that the law of ME applied because the contract was completed in ME – essentially, the principle event necessary to make the K occurred in ME when the Ps accepted the wife’s guarantee. The K must therefore be treated as made and to be performed in the State of Maine.
RULE: If the contract is valid where entered, then it is also valid at the forum. A contract that is valid by the law of the state where it was made is enforceable everywhere including states where such contracts are statutorily invalid.  
 
Place of Contract?
   ** place of breach? Making? Location of document? Performance?
     Law of forum is where the contract.
        ** When deciding on an exam what to choose, place of mailing/offer or place of acceptance..apply both. **
 
*Bilateral and unilateral contacts.
 Bilateral…promise for a promise . promise to pay 100 for promise to tutor.
 Unilateral… promise for performance.. – pay 100 to jump up and down.
* Court said that it was a unilateral contract.
 
CLOSED BOOK EXAM… 
     Class notes: 
              Choice of law, Jurisdiction, Recognition of judgments.
                    Legislative jurisdiction – particular sovereign to legislate.
 
In re Barrie’s Estate: (Iowa Property Case)
 Barrie’s will devising real property in Iowa and personal property in Illinois was denied probate in Illinois, but Iowa held that under its laws the will was valid.
 RULE: The Full Faith and Credit Clause (doctrine that a judgment by a court of one state shall be given the same effect in another state.) does not render foreign decrees of probate conclusive as to the validity of a will with respect to real property situated in a state other than the one in which the decree was rendered, nor do the doctrines of res judicata or collateral estoppel apply.  
   ** Court said that what counts in the validity of a will is where the property is located.
 
Classnotes:
   Expectation of the parties?? Is that important? Predictability–/ Uniformity,
 
Dog Hypo:
   Dog domiciled
     Strict liability in Mass       New Hampshire Dog bits victim w/ one bite rule.
 
Contract theory…. = use law where contract was made.
 
** Remember appropriateness of the law…
Fairness of the law…
    Same sex couple plane crash hypo…
 
Factors: Predictability, Simplicity, Uniformity, Appropriateness, Fairness
    Lex Loci Contractus= place of the contract
 
White v. Tennant (W.Va. 1888) (PA v. WV domicile death issue case)
Facts: Michael and Lucinda White, life-long domiciliaries of WV, decided to move to PA. They sold their WV farm and moved their belongings to PA. Almost immediately after arriving at their new PA abode, Lucinda became ill, and her husband took her only a few hundred yards back into WV to stay with relatives. Mikey then became ill as well and subsequently died while in WV. The primary issue in the case was whether, at the time of Mikey’s death, was his legal domicile in WV or PA.
Holding: The court found that Mikey’s domicile at the time of his death was PA. By leaving a former domicile without any intention of returning, and by moving into a new domicile with intention of staying indefinitely, domicile has changed.
RULE: The law of the state in which a decedent had his domicile when he died will control the distribution of his personal estate. Domicile is an actual or inchoate residence with no intention to make a domicile elsewhere. 
   In PA they wife gets half and the parents get half
   WV wife gets all.
       Intent
–          issue of what do you have to do to abandon a domicile.
–          Also when one has touched the state of domicile
–          Domicile= presence and intent to remain.
–          Capacity- courts usually look at Domicile to find out one’s capacity..ex… ny -18, Puerto rico= 21
 
 
 
Other rules…….
     Full Faith and Credit Clause- of judgments from one state to all the other states… pg 480, also, acts, records and judicial decisions. This has never been taken to mean anything that has to do with choice of actual law…
     ** A marriage valid where celebrated is valid everywhere, except where it violates a strong public policy of the domicile state
         * Custody—domicile of the child… (caused snatch and run issues) Now the law is the place that has jurisdiction over the custody.
          * Corporations—internal affairs of corporation by the state of incorporation..
              What is internal affairs?
          Race to the bottom— very rarely much change to the court. DE has the best developed law of corporations.
          DE corporate code is considered to be favorable toward the corporations.
 
 
 
    Re-Characterization as an Escape Device
Without abandoning the First Restatement rules, courts were often able to avoid egregious results by employing the escape device of re-characterization. Simply, the ploy was to take an issue that would normally be characterized as a tort and to reclassify the iss

amanian statutory limit.
                      RULE= A SOL is substantive, and therefore applicable in any forum, if it extinguishes the right sued upon and not the remedy.
                       Reason- Right v. Remedy… Substantive v. Procedural… this specific SOL is procedural… Have to see if there is a specific right sued upon… here it did not.. and was only a general SOL. And therefore is procedural. Π can continue suit…
                       Right v. Remedy= Where the foreign statute of limitations is regarded as barring the foreign right sued upon, and not the merely the remedy, it will be treated as conditioning that right and will be enforced by our courts as part of the foreign “substantive” law.
                        ** Restatement Second of Conflicts holds that an action will not be maintained if it is not timely under the forum’s law. It is maintainable, if timely by the forum’s law, even if it would be barred where the c/a arose. There is one exception, in accord with the principal case, where the applicable foreign limitation bars the right (substantive) and not merely the remedy (procedural).
                           ** Normally SOL’s are procedural!
                FYI: ** A federal court applies the law of where it sits…. Ex. PA federal court applies PA law in a diversity case where it sits.
                  Category transplant— take one type of law and characterize it as a different type of purpose.. Choice of law purposes v. Erie Purposes.
 
Whole Law/Situs Analysis:
                     
                     In Re Schneider’s Estate (Swiss Law Property case) (Whole Law Concept)
                     Fts) The decedent was a Swiss-born naturalized American, domiciled in NY. His will, which was probated in NY, contained a testamentary disposition of real property located in Switzerland that was impermissible under Swiss law.
                     Swiss law= says certain portions of a decedent’s property must descend to his legitimate heirs and that any testamentary disposition contrary to this law is void.
                     RULE= While the law of situs of real property must control the disposition of that property, it is the whole law of the situs(location of property), including its conflict of laws rule, that must be applied.
                     Held/reason: Court looked at the whole law of Swiss law, and since Swiss law would, through its own conflict of laws rule, refer the matter to the law of the domicile, which was NY. Also Since the local law of NY finds no fault with the testamentary disposition established by the deceased, his will shall be recognizd as valid.
                        Renvoi= Choice of law rules may refer either to a state’s “internal law”= the law that would be applied to a purely domestic case without multi-state contacts or to its “whole law”= the law that state would apply to the multi-state case actually presented, by reference to it’s own choice of law rules.
                                ** Kinda circular don’t you think??!!
 
 Public Policy, Penal Law, Tax Claims:
 
      Public Policy exception: Always start with Loucks Standard…