This Article argues that the federal forum non conveniens doctrine subverts critical national interests in international torts cases. For over a quarter century, federal judges have assumed that foreign injury cases, particularly those filed by foreign plaintiffs, are best litigated abroad. This assumption is incorrect. Foreign injuries caused by multinational corporations who tap the American market implicate significant national interests in compensation and/or deterrence. Federal judges approach the forum non conveniens decision as if it were a species of choice of law, as opposed to a choice of forum question. Analyzing the cases from an adjudicatory perspective reveals that in the case of an American resident plaintiff injured abroad, an adequate alternative forum seldom exists; each time a federal court dismisses such a claim, the American interest in compensation is irrevocably impaired. With respect to deterrence, an analysis focusing properly on adjudicatory factors demonstrates that excluding foreign injury claims, even those brought by foreign plaintiffs, seriously undermines our national interest in deterring corporate malfeasance.
Elizabeth T. Lear, National Interests, Foreign Injuries, and Federal Forum Non Conveniens, 41 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 559 (2007), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/281