The Doctrine of Forum Non Conveniens in Nevada

The term “forum non conveniens” is Latin for “an inconvenient forum”.[1]  Under the circumstances discussed below, a court may grant a motion to dismiss a complaint that is filed in a court that is inconvenient to a defendant.

In Buckholt v. District Court,[2] the Petitioners sued a Nevada corporation, seeking damages for injuries allegedly resulting from a single vehicle accident occurring near Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1976. The Nevada Supreme Court held the doctrine of forum non conveniens is inapposite where the defendant is a Nevada corporation and does business here.

The Buckholt court suggests that although the location of a defendant corporation in this state is significant, and should weigh heavily against the granting of such a motion, the doctrine of forum non conveniens is not limited to a single factor.  The doctrine involves a balancing approach using several other factors, including public and private interests, access to sources of proof, and the availability of a view of the premises, if necessary.  If an adequate alternative forum does exist, the Court must then weigh public and private interest factors to determine whether dismissal is warranted.[3]

Relevant public interest factors include the local interest in the case, the district court’s familiarity with applicable law, the burdens on local courts and jurors, court congestion, and the costs of resolving a dispute unrelated to the plaintiffs chosen forum.[4]

Private interest factors favor dismissal for forum non conveniens.  Relevant private interest factors may include the location of a defendant corporation, access to proof, the availability of compulsory process for unwilling witnesses, the cost of obtaining testimony from willing witnesses, and the enforceability of a judgment.[5]  The court should also consider whether failure to apply the doctrine would subject the defendant to harassment, oppression, vexatiousness, or inconvenience.[6]

[1] The Dictionary.

[2] 94 Nev. 631, 584 P.2d 672 (1978).

[3] Id.

[4]Lueck, 236 F.3d at 1147 (citing Piper Aircraft, 454 U.S. at 259-61).

[5] Lueck, 236 F.3d at 1145; see also Eaton, 96 Nev. at 774, 616 P.2d at 401; Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 67 S. Ct. 839, 91 L. Ed. 1055 (1947).

[6] See Swisco, Inc. v. District Court, 79 Nev. 414, 385 P.2d 772 (1963).



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