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ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS

The plaintiff in this case filed suit in Dallas County against corporate owners of a drilling rig on which an Australian citizen employed by an Australian company was killed. At the time of the incident, the rig was in the territorial waters of Singapore, and the incident was investigated by Singaporean authorities. At issue in this mandamus proceeding is whether the trial court abused its discretion by failing to dismiss the case on forum non conveniens grounds. We hold that it did and conditionally grant relief.

Paul Merema was fatally injured while working aboard the ENSCO 104, a Liberian-flagged drilling rig docked at a shipyard facility in the territorial waters of Singapore. Paul was a citizen of Australia and was employed by Total Marine Services (TMS) of Western Australia. His employment contract with TMS was governed by the law of Western Australia. ENSCO Offshore International Inc. contracted with TMS for TMS to provide personnel for the drilling rig. The contract with TMS specified that the laws of Western Australia applied and all matters between the parties were to be referred to arbitration in Perth, Western Australia. Paul’s death was investigated by Singaporean authorities, including the Ministry of Manpower, the Police Coast Guard, the State Coroner, and the Ministry of Health. Singapore Test Services, located in Singapore, participated in analysis and testing of a valve assembly involved in the incident.

 
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