USA: claims in Adam Air litigation dismissed under “forum non convenines” doctrine

Flight DHI 574 of Adam SkyConnection Airlines (“Adam Air”) crashed off the coast of Indonesia in 2007. Adam Air ceased operation in 2008. The representatives of 52 of the 102 decedents filed three cases which were consolidated in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) before the US District Court for Northern District of Illinois.The court applied the traditional forum non conveniens analysis to determinewhether an available and adequate alternative forum existed, and, if so, whether the private and public interests rendered the alternative forum more convenient. In its decision of January 11, 2011, the court held that Indonesia was an “available” forum because all defendants agreed to consent to the jurisdiction of an Indonesian court as a condition of dismissal. Defendants produced evidence that an Indonesian court would accept this consent. The court also found that Indonesia was an “adequate” forum because the plaintiffs would have at least some remedy for their claims under Indonesian law.The court also held that the private interest factors weighed heavily in favor of the Indonesian forum because of much of the evidence was in Indonesia and that Indonesia had a greater interest because the crash occurred on an Indonesian domestic flight, operated by an Indonesian domestic air carrier, carrying mostly Indonesian citizens.

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