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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Valentin Hernandez Aran and Juan Benitez Mendoza, both Mexican citizens, were transporting a heavy load of seafood in a 14-year-old GMC pickup on a Mexican highway when the truck rolled over, killing Aran. The accident report filed by the Mexican police indicated that Aran was driving, but in light of evidence indicating Aran did not know how to drive, the parties speculated that Mendoza, who was not present when the police arrived, may have been driving the truck when it rolled over and subsequently fled the scene. According to the report, the truck was speeding on a level two-lane road when the right rear tire failed and the truck rolled over. R. Garza Motors of Brownsville purchased the truck two years before the accident at an auction in Arkansas. Eleven days after the purchase, Garza Motors in Cameron County sold the truck to a Mexican citizen, who imported it into Mexico the same day. The truck was used, maintained and serviced in Mexico from the time it was sold by Garza Motors until the date of the accident. The tire which allegedly failed was manufactured by Pirelli Tire in Des Moines, Iowa, in March 1994. Pirelli is incorporated in Delaware, and its principal place of business is Georgia. In March 2003, Aran’s wife, Maria Magdalena Meza Aran, his son, Damian Hernandez Meza, and later his mother, Felipa Aran Limas (collectively, the Arans), all citizens of Mexico, sued Pirelli in Cameron County. They alleged that Pirelli negligently designed and manufactured the tire and also asserted strict liability claims. Less than a month later, Pirelli filed its Original Answer, as well as a Motion to Dismiss on Grounds of Forum Non Conveniens. In March 2004, Pirelli filed an expanded Motion to Dismiss on Grounds of Forum Non Conveniens and a Motion to Apply the Law of Mexico. The trial court denied Pirelli’s motions, and the 13th Court of Appeals denied mandamus relief. The Texas Supreme Court granted oral argument on Pirelli’s mandamus petition to consider the parameters of the trial court’s discretion in deciding the dismissal motion. HOLDING:The court conditionally granted the writ for a petition of mandamus. Texas Civil Practice & Remedies �71.051(a) governs motions to dismiss based on forum non conveniens brought by claimants who are not legal residents of the United States. It provides: “With respect to a plaintiff who is not a legal resident of the United States, if a court of this state, on written motion of a party, finds that in the interest of justice a claim or action to which this section applies would be more properly heard in a forum outside this state, the court may decline to exercise jurisdiction under the doctrine of forum non conveniens and may stay or dismiss the claim or action in whole or in part on any conditions that may be just.” It is true, the court stated, that trial courts possess broad discretion in deciding whether to dismiss a case on the basis of forum non conveniens. But the court stated that a trial court’s forum non conveniens ruling is subject to review for clear abuse of discretion. Pirelli maintained that Mexico provides an adequate alternative forum. The Arans responded that Pirelli has failed to establish that a Mexican forum is available, pointing to their expert’s testimony that a law in the state of Tamaulipas, the alternative forum for the Arans’ suit, “poses a formidable obstacle” to an agreement renouncing prescriptive rights that have not yet accrued. The Arans, the court noted, also contended that dismissal was inappropriate here, because, even if available, the Mexican forum would be inadequate in a number of respects. Although they acknowledged that Mexico provides a cause of action akin to negligence, the Arans contended that a Mexican forum was inadequate, because it does not afford a cause of action for strict liability. The Arans contested the Mexican forum’s adequacy on the additional grounds that its legal system does not provide for a jury, no “American-style” discovery is available, and a Mexican court could not compel the authentication of documents in the United States. The Arans further contended Mexican law does not provide for survival damages and severely restricts damages for death. Presuming that the Arans’ portrayal of the Mexican law is correct, the court did not agree that a Mexican forum would be inadequate. The fact that the substantive law of an alternative forum may be less favorable to the plaintiff is entitled to little, if any, weight, the court stated. Using the framework set out in the 1947 U.S. Supreme Court decision Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, the court found that private interest factors weighed in favor of a Mexican forum. For instance, key evidence and witnesses concerning damages are in Mexico, the court stated. The court found that public interests involved in the case strongly favored trying the case in Mexico. Mexico’s interest in protecting its citizens and seeing that they are compensated for their injuries is paramount. The safety of Mexican highways and products within the country’s borders are also Mexican interests. The court deemed it unfair to impose upon the citizens of Cameron County the cost and administrative burden of a complex products-liability suit with no significant connection to Texas. In sum, the court found that the Gulf Oil factors clearly and overwhelmingly favored a Mexican forum for resolution of the dispute. Thus, the court held that in light of the evidence presented, the trial court’s denial of Pirelli’s motion was arbitrary, unreasonable, contrary to guiding rules and principles, and constituted a clear abuse of discretion. Noting its previous holding that no adequate remedy by appeal exists when a trial court refuses to enforce a forum-selection clause, the court conditionally granted Pirelli’s petition for writ of mandamus. OPINION:O’Neill, J., announced the court’s disposition and delivered an opinion joined by Hecht, Brister and Medina, JJ. Green, J., did not participate in the decision. CONCURRENCE:Willett, J., joined by Wainwright, J. as to Part I. “It is undisputed that the governing statutory provision in this case is subsection (a) of section 71.051, which covers suits brought by foreign plaintiffs and imposes a modest standard for forum non conveniens dismissals. . . . Cases involving foreign plaintiffs do not require the same balancing of interests as cases involving resident plaintiffs. I would not blur the statute’s residency-based distinction by importing factors that elected policymakers, for reasons good or bad, chose not to include in cases involving nonresident plaintiffs.” DISSENT:Johnson, J., joined by Jefferson, C.J. “If this case were before us under the current version of section 71.051 which imposes a duty on the trial court to dismiss or stay a case on forum non conveniens principles under certain circumstances, I might well be of a different view. But it is not. The trial court’s decision to exercise jurisdiction specifically provided for by one statute and not withdrawn by another was not arbitrary, was not unreasonable, nor was it without reference to guiding principles. Accordingly, I would hold that its decision was not an abuse of discretion.”

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