California: Air France – air crash claims dismissed on inconvenient forum grounds

A multidistrict litigation (MDL) court in California has dismissed claims filed against Air France arising out of an air disaster on a flight between Brazil and France that killed all 228 passengers and crew. In re Air Crash over the Mid-Atl. on June 1, 2009, MDL No. 10-2144 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Cal., decided October 4, 2010). The passengers and crew were mainly French or Brazilian. However, two of the decedents purportedly were U.S. residents but had been living and working in Brazil for more than a year. The question was thus whether the Montreal Convention provided a U.S. jurisdiction for their claims and, if so, whether common law forum non conveniens doctrine could be used to dismiss the actions.The court refused to dismiss the claims for lack of subject matter but held that the Montreal Convention did not prevent a U.S. court from dismissing a case using forum non conveniens.

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