Scola based much of her 19-page order to dismiss on the forum non conveniens analysis the Florida Supreme Court established in Kenney System v. Continental Insurance.
"Nothing in our law establishes a policy that Florida must be a courthouse for the world, nor that the taxpayers of the state must pay to resolve disputes utterly unconnected with this state's interests," the high court ruled.
Scola agreed with defense co-counsel Joseph DeMaria that Curacao is an available and adequate alternate forum and that neither Florida nor Curacao provides a clear advantage to either party for access to witnesses and documents. She said Florida's tenuous connection to the case does not justify its commitment of judicial resources and the defendants have agreed to submit themselves to the jurisdiction of Curacaoan courts.
Scola noted the Venezuelan companies initiated judicial proceedings in Curacao almost two months before filing the Miami-Dade complaint in December 2011, then dropped the Caribbean court action two weeks after DeMaria and Bell filed the motion to dismiss in February 2012.
"Plaintiffs' own actions in filing a nearly identical lawsuit in Curacao, raising the same claim, attests to the adequacy of that forum," Scola wrote.
She also ruled the three Curacao entities are indispensable parties to the action.
Scola also dismissed the civil theft claim.
"There are no allegations in the complaint that any of the alleged acts constituting a violation of the criminal statutes occurred within Florida," she wrote in her January 4 order.
Had the civil theft count been held applicable, it could have resulted in triple damages for a $216 million verdict, Bell said.