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Garcia v. AA Roofing Company, LLC

August 4, 2020

In Garcia v. AA Roofing Company, LLC, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals held that the trial court improperly granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss on the basis of forum non conveniens.  In coming to such conclusion, the Court of Appeals stated that although the trial court correctly articulated the private and public interest factors set out by the Supreme Court in Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, the trial judge deviated from those factors in ruling on the motion to dismiss. 330 U.S. 501 (1947).  Specifically, the trial court failed to evaluate the facts contained in the amended complaint in favor of the Plaintiff-Appellant; the trial court improperly reasoned that a forum other than the District of Columbia was the ideal place for Plaintiff’s suit; the trial court incorrectly shifted the burden from the Defendants-Appellees to the Plaintiff-Appellant; the trial court did not ponder relevant factors; and it gave too much deference to the onerous task of having to apply the law of another state.  With its decision, the Court of Appeals reiterated the well-known premise that, the doctrine of forum non conveniens exists not “to ensure litigation in the most convenient forum[,]” but instead, exists “to avoid litigation in a seriously inconvenient forum” (citing Hechinger Co. v. Johnson, 761 A.2d 15, 20 (D.C. 2000)).

Garcia v. AA Roofing Company, LLC, No. 14-CV-1095 (D.C.C.A. Sept. 10, 2015).