PA: Conflict of Laws

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PA: Conflict of Laws
2010-07-16 16:05:35

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  1. CoL Methodology: PA Hybrid
    • GEN: Hybrid combining the governmental interest analysis and the Restatement (2d) approaches.
    • KEY: Which state has "the greatest interest in the legal issue."
    • >> PA Courts: Apply the law of the state w/ greatest interest in legal issue by evaluating contacts and their interests. Only particular issues b/f court are relevant. State's contacts measured on a qualitative scale (not quantitative).

    • (1) Describe PA's hybrid approach -- hybrid, gvt interest and Restat. (2d), "greatest legal interest."
    • (2) First steps of gvt interest analysis: (i) ID policies behind competing laws and compare each jdx's policies with the relevant contacts.
    • >> Key is to determine whether the policies are implicated in this case.
    • (3) If false conflict: apply the law of the interested date.
    • (4) If true conflict: determine which state has the greater interest and apply its law.
    • >> Qualitative Analysis: (i) list connecting factors (SM, parties, ect.); AND (ii) evaluate factors by reference to the policy oriented principles.
    • (5) Discuss result WRT to each of the three approached -- gvt interest analysis, Rest. 1, Rest. 2.
    • >> Only if time.
  2. CoL Methodology: Specific PA Rules
    • (1) Property: generally -- situs of property at the time of transaction.
    • (2) Contracts:
    • >> Choice of Law Clauses:
    • >>>> Goods: Honored so long as chosen jdx bears a "reasonable relation" to the transaction.
    • >>>> Services: (i) parties' choice; (ii) disallow if choice ≠ substantial relation OR no reasonable basis OR contrary to fundamental policy.
    • >>>> If No True Consent (Adhesion): Clause not honored.
    • >> Choice of Forum Clauses:
    • >>>> PA: If parties freely agree that litigation should be conducted in another forum, ok so long as not unreasonable at the time of the litigation.
    • >>>>>> Unreasonable: if subvert interests of justice. Mere inconvenience insufficient.

    (3) Marriage: "Place of Celebration Rule" -- where solemnized.

    (4) Corporations: Law of the state of incorporation.
  3. CoL Methodology: PA Escape Valves
    • Substance/Procedure Methodology: Forum law governs questions of procedure. If matter characterized as procedural, forum state can apply its own law WRT that matter.
    • >> Procedural: concern conduct of litigation.
    • >> Substantive: govern out of court conduct.

    • Characterization: Some cases can be characterizes as more than one type -- ie. dispute over land as contract or property.
    • >> BUT: Preference for treating cases involving property as property cases.

    Statute of Limitations: court should apply the shorter of two competing limitations periods.

    Public Policy: If law contrary to a strong public policy of a state, it can reject it.

    • Domicile:
    • >> Corps -- domiciled in state of incorp.
    • >> Individuals -- two requirements -- (1) physical presence and (2) intent to be domiciled there.
  4. CoL Methodology: Gvt Interest Analysis
    • GEN: Forum should always apply its own law unless a party requests that another law apply.
    • ANALYSIS: Following such a request --
    • (1) ID Policies and evaluate contacts.
    • >> Policies: ID policies expressed in laws through ordinary construction/interpretation.
    • >> Contacts: ID parties' contacts w/ state(s) to determine if the policies are relevant to the part. dispute.
    • (2) If False Conflict -- one state has an interest and other does not -- then apply law of interested state.
    • (3) If Apparent/True Conflict -- Ask if "more moderate and restrained" interpretation of the interest of one state will avoid the conflict. IF NOT: Apply the law of the forum state.
    • (4) If Disinterested Forum AND Two Other States: If 2+ states have legitimate competing interests, forum can dismiss the case (FNC) or (i) make its own judgment on which law is better; or (ii) apply the law most closely resembling its own.
    • (5) If No State Has An Interest: Apply forum state law.
  5. CoL Methodology: Restatement (1st) Test
    • (1) Characterize the area of substantive law of the conflicting laws (contract, tort, ect.);
    • (2) Determine CoL rule that governs --
    • >> Tort: Place where the accident occurs. Key: where injury suffered.
    • >> Contract: Jdx where the contract was made.
    • >> Property: Law of the place where the property is located.
    • (3) Localize the rule that applies.
  6. CoL Methodology: Restatement (2nd) Test
    • (1) §6 Factors:
    • >> Needs of interstate/int'l system;
    • >> Relevant policies of the forum and underlying interests;
    • >> Relevant policies of other interested states;
    • >> Protection of the parties;
    • >> Certainty, predictability and uniformity; AND/OR
    • >> Ease of determining and applying the law.
    • (2) Connecting Factors: Strength of contacts w/ states.
    • (3) "Most Significant Relationship": conclusion based on steps 1 and 2.
    • >> Language is key.
  7. Clashes: Federal and State Law
    • ERIE: Where state/fed law conflict --
    • (1) Identify what type of federal law is implicated.
    • >> Fed Statutes: Supremacy Clause requires that valid fed law govern in the face of conflicting state laws.
    • >> Fed Rules CivPro: If Fed Rule valid under the Rules Enabling Act (does it regulate procedure? ok course), then ok.
    • >> Federal CL: May govern in the face of a conflicting state rule ONLY IF the application of fed law ≠ violate the twin aims of ERIE -- (i) discouraging forum shopping; OR (ii) avoiding inequitable admin. of laws.

    • Fed court should apply conflict of laws rules of the forum state. Use forum's methodology.
  8. Recognition of Judgments
    • GEN: Whether judgment in one jdx should be recognized in another jdx.
    • (1) Full Faith & Credit -- requires one court to give judgment in another sanctity and effect.
    • >> JDX: SMJ and PJ over D, or at least allowed a full/fair opp for defendant to challenge jdx.
    • >> On the Merits: Default, unless decision states otherwise.
    • >> Final:
    • (2) Ask if honoring court would give judgment (i) res judicata; OR (ii) collateral estoppel.
    • >> RES JUDICATA: Claim preclusion -- (i) judgment must be final; (ii) judgment must involve the same CoA as the second suit (same SM and ultimate issue, or seek releif for the same harm); AND (iii) Second suit involves the same parties/privies as the first suit.
    • >> COLLATERAL ESTOPPEL: Issue Preclusion -- (i) issue actually litigated/decided in the first suit; (ii) issue necessary to support the judgment in the first suit; AND (iii) party against whom collateral estoppel is asserted must have been a party or in privaty with a party to the first suit (earlier opp to litigate).
  9. Recognition of Divorce Judgments
    • GEN: Divorce decrees get full faith + credit in one state if the rendering state had proper jdx and the decree is valid in the rendering state.
    • >> Jdx: if one party domiciled in the rendering state.
    • PA REQ: Spouse is not entitled to commence an action for divorce in PA unless at least one of the parties has been a bona fide resident for at least six months prior to commencement.
    • >> If PA adjudicating: PA domicile requirements.

    • NOTE: If get a quickie divorce in a state that doesn't have a domicile requirement -- or has a loose one -- then the divorce decree is valid.
    • BUT: Out of state divorce only works on the "status" of being married.

    • DIVISIBLE DIVORCE: Although a state can render a valid ex parte divorce decree where only one spouse is domiciled in the state, the same rule does not govern related matters such as property settlement, alimony, support and child custody.
    • >> Marital status broken, BUT other matters re: personal obligations not affected.