Forum Non Conveniens Motion Fails Because of Dispute’s Ties to New York

On February 8, 2024, the First Department issued a decision in Employees Retirement Sys. for the City of Providence v. Rohner, 2024 NY Slip Op. 00674, holding that a forum non conveniens motion failed because of a dispute’s ties to New York, explaining:

The doctrine of forum non conveniens, codified in CPLR 327, permits a court to stay or dismiss an action where it finds that in the interest of substantial justice the action should be heard in another forum. CPLR 327 requires that balancing of many factors, and the decision to retain jurisdiction over a dispute is within the motion court’s discretion. Here, defendants have not met their heavy burden of establishing that the complaint should have been dismissed on forum non conveniens grounds.

There is no credible argument that a substantial nexus between this action and New York is lacking. Virtually every aspect of the subject matter underlying this action occurred in New York, and this Court has found a substantial nexus to exist in New York under less compelling circumstances.

The court also properly found that New York, as a preeminent commercial center, has a significant interest in adjudicating this dispute. While Switzerland also has an interest in adjudicating this action and regulating its banks, this is only one factor to be weighed, and does not compel dismissal. Nor is there any parallel litigation pending in Switzerland that might weigh in favor of adjudicating the dispute there.

Defendants also failed to meet their heavy burden of establishing that the Commercial Division is unduly burdened or incapable of handling this case. While the parties agree that this case involves the application of Swiss substantive law, this is not dispositive. New York courts routinely find that there is no inordinate burden involved in applying the substantive laws of foreign jurisdictions, including Swiss law.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted).

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