Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Dow Chemical Company v. Castro Alfaro case brief

Dow Chemical Company v. Castro Alfaro case brief summary
786 S.W.2d 674 (1990)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Petitioner chemical companies challenged the decision of the Court of Appeals of Harris County, First District (Texas), which held that pursuant to Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 71.031, Texas courts lacked the authority to dismiss the personal injury action filed by respondents, Costa Rican workers, on the ground of forum non conveniens.

CASE FACTS
After respondents, Costa Rican workers, filed suit against petitioner chemical companies in Texas, petitioners filed a motion to dismiss on the ground of forum non conveniens.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The lower court denied petitioner's motion and the court affirmed.

DISCUSSION

  • After finding that the Texas court applied the doctrine of forum non conveniens in several cases prior to the original enactment of Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 71.031, the court held that the legislature statutorily abolished the doctrine of forum non conveniens in suits brought under § 71.031. 
  • Because that provision provided a statutory right to enforce a personal injury or wrongful death claim in the Texas courts, respondents' cause of action could not be dismissed on the ground of forum non conveniens.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the decision of the lower court holding that the cause of action filed by respondents, Costa Rican workers, against petitioner chemical companies could not be dismissed because the legislature intended to abolish the doctrine of forum non conveniens when it created a statutory right to bring a personal injury or wrongful death cause of action in Texas.

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