Conflicts of Law (DOC)

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					                                  PENNSYLVANIA –
                                 CONFLICT OF LAWS

I.     GENERALLY
       a. There are 3 kinds of Conflict of Laws problems:
                i. Jurisdiction
               ii. Choice of Law
              iii. Recognition of Judgment
       b. If a party wants to fight a judgment using Conflicts analysis, use all 3 approaches.


II.    CONFLICTS BETWEEN THE LAWS OF TWO (OR MORE) STATES
       a. There are three major methodologies:
              i. The Restatement First of Conflicts
             ii. The Government Interest Analysis
            iii. The Restatement Second of Conflicts
       b. Pennsylvania uses a hybrid methodology that falls between the General Interest
          Approach and the Restatement Second of Conflicts.


III.   THE RESTATEMENT FIRST OF CONFLICTS
       a. The Restatement first employs a three-step process:
              i. Determine the area of substantive law at issue.
             ii. The Restatement First ―pulls‖ law from different states depending on the
                 substantive area of law. Find the ―Choice of Law‖ rule that governs.
            iii. Apply the facts to the situation at hand.
       b. Major R1 Choice of Law rules:
              i. Torts                 Where the accident / injury took place
             ii. Contracts             Where the contract was formed
            iii. Property              Situs
IV.   THE GOVERNMENT INTEREST ANALYSIS
      a. Start from the premise that the forum applies its own law unless one of the parties
         asks the court to apply another state’s law.
      b. If one of the parties requests that the court apply another state’s law, engage in the
         following analysis
               i. Determine what state interests may be at play.
              ii. Apply the interests to the facts relevant to the immediate controversy to
                  determine whether any, one, or both of the states have a Governmental
                  Interest in applying its laws.
             iii. If only one state is ―interested,‖ that is a FALSE CONFLICT. In false
                  conflict situations, apply the law of the interested state.
             iv. If both states are ―interested,‖ that is a TRUE CONFLICT.
                      1. First, ascertain whether a ―more moderate and restrained
                          interpretation‖ would eliminate either of the state interests at play.
                          If so, you are back to a False Conflict where only the law of the
                          remaining ―interested‖ state applies.
                      2. If not, you remain with a True Conflict—and the law of the Forum
                          State applies.
              v. If the forum state is disinterested but it determines that two or more other
                  states have an interest in applying their law to this case:
                      1. First, the Forum should try to dismiss the case pursuant to the
                          Doctrine of Forum Non Conveniens.
                      2. If Forum Non Conveniens doesn’t apply, the Forum should either:
                               a. In its own judgment, determine which law is better; or
                               b. Apply the law that most closely resembles the law of the
                                   forum state.
             vi. If no State is interested, the Forum should apply its own laws.
V.   THE RESTATEMENT SECOND OF CONFLICTS:
     a. Restatement Second applies two-steps:
        the “most significant relationship approach.”
     b. The two steps are:
             i. First, it applies the policy considerations found in §6.
                    1. The needs of the interstate and international system
                    2. The relevant forum policies
                    3. The relevant policies of other interested states, including their
                         interests in having their law applied to the particular issue
                    4. The protection of party expectations
                    5. The basic policies underlying the particular field of law
                    6. The objectives of certainty, predictability, and uniformity of
                         result; and
                    7. The ease of determining and applying the law previously identified
                         as applicable.
            ii. Then, it applies specific ―connecting factors‖ found throughout the
                Restatement Second. These ―connecting factors‖ provide specific
                guidance about particular areas of law.
                    1. EX: §145 dictates that the Forum should consider the following
                         ―connecting factors‖ when determining what law to apply in a
                         Torts case:
                             a. Place where the injury occurred;
                             b. Place where conduct causing the injury occurred;
                             c. Domicile / Nationality of the parties;
                             d. The place where the parties’ relationship was formed
                             e. …
VI.   THE PENNSYLVANIA APPROACH
      a. Blends the Governmental Interest Approach and the Restatement Second of
         Conflicts.
      b. Steps:
              i. Describe the approach:
                     1. First, determine state interests.
                     2. Apply those state interests to the relevant facts to determine
                        whether either state is ―Interested‖ in applying its laws to this
                        dispute.
                     3. If there’s a false conflict, apply the law of the Interested state.
                     4. If there’s a true conflict, turn to the Restatement Second:
                             a. List the policy factors in §6.
                             b. List the ―connecting factors‖ as established by the facts.
                             c. The court should apply the laws of the state with the
                                greatest QUALITATIVE relationship to the conflict.
      c. Other PA-Specific rules:
              i. PROPERTY: determined solely by situs.
             ii. CONTRACT CLAUSES: PA generally honors choice-of-law clauses:
                     1. The PA Commercial Code provides that the parties’ choice should
                        be honored so long as the chosen jurisdiction bears a reasonable
                        relation to the transaction.
                     2. For other transactions (for transactions not involving the sale of
                        goods), PA has adopted §187 of the Restatement Second of
                        Conflicts:
                             a. There must be a reasonable relation or a reasonable basis
                                for the parties’ choice of law. The choice of law may stem
                                from a connection to the state or because a particular state
                                has a well-developed body of law in some substantive area
                                (e.g., NY has a really well developed body of law around
                                Article 9 Secured Transactions).
                     3. BUT: PA Courts will not honor a choice of law clause if one of the
                        parties didn’t really choose it – PA Courts do not apply choice of
                        law clauses from contracts of adhesion.
            iii. MARRIAGE: determined by the place of celebration – where the marriage
                 was solemnized.
            iv. CORPORATIONS: the law of the state of incorporation applies to
                 determine the duties and liabilities of corporate officers and directors.
VII.    ―ESCAPE VALVES‖
        a. Even when applying another state’s substantive law, the forum state should apply
           its own procedural law.
                i. Thus, to avoid applying another state’s law, the forum state may seek to
                   characterize it as ―procedural‖ rather than ―substantive.‖
               ii. Pennsylvania has a specific rule for Statutes of Limitations:
                   A PA Statute provides that PA courts should apply the shorter of the
                   two competing Statutes of Limitations periods.
        b. Courts may also attempt to change the relevant law by categorizing transactions in
           different ways. Although property law is determined by situs, contracts law is
           determined either by choice-of-law clauses or by application of the PA test. Thus,
           to reach a different outcome, the court may frame the issue under different
           ―headings‖ of substantive law.


VIII.   CONFLICTS BETWEENS STATE AND FEDERAL LAW
        a. What is the nature of the conflict?
               i. Statutes: Federal law controls. Reference the Supremacy Clause.
              ii. FRCP: the federal procedural rules govern so long as the federal rule is
                  valid under the Rules Enabling Act and the Constitution.
        b. Diversity Cases:
               i. When a Federal Court sits in Diversity and must choose between the law
                  of the parties’ respective states, the court should apply the choice of law
                  methodology used by the Forum State.
IX.   RECOGNITION OF JUDGMENTS
      a. Two step approach:
            i. Determine whether the first judgment is entitled to full faith & credit:
                   1. Was it a final judgment?
                   2. Determined based on the merits of the action?
                   3. Did the rendering court have jurisdiction to hear the action?
           ii. Determine whether res judicata or collateral estoppel apply:
                   1. Res Judicata applies when:
                          a. The first judgment was final.
                          b. The first judgment involved the same cause of action as this
                             second lawsuit.
                          c. The second lawsuit involves the same parties or their
                             privies in interest.
                   2. Collateral Estoppel applies when:
                          a. The issues must have been actually litigated and decided in
                             the first proceeding.
                          b. The issue must have been necessary to support the
                             judgment of the first proceeding.
                          c. The party against whom collateral estoppel is asserted must
                             have been a party (in privity with a party) in the first action,
                             and he must have had a full and fair opportunity to litigate
                             the issue in the prior action.


X.    DIVORCE JUDGMENTS
      a. If the rendering state had proper jurisdiction, divorce judgments are entitled to full
         faith and credit. Jurisdiction is established if at least one of the parties was
         domiciled in the forum state.
              i. In PA, one of the parties must be a resident of the state for at least 6
                  months.
      b. However, collateral judgments are entitled to full faith and credit only if the
         rendering court had jurisdiction over both parties.

				
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