Washington Law Review


The Washington Supreme Court in the recent case of Lansverk v. Studebaker-Packard Corp. held the doctrine of forum non conveniens not to be a part of the law of this state. Probably as good a description of the doctrine as can be found is set forth in the Lansverk case, namely, that although a court in which a transitory action is commenced has jurisdiction to hear and determine it, the court can, nonetheless, in its discretion decline to exercise its jurisdiction and dismiss the action whenever it appears that there is another forum available where trial will best serve the convenience of the parties and the ends of justice. The result of the holding is that the superior courts of Washington do not possess such discretionary power. Several questions may be posed as a result of this decision. Will the superior courts in the future be able to reach the same results without referring to the doctrine by name as they would by application of the doctrine? Will the supreme court be willing to recede in future cases from the position it has taken? If not, should action be taken in terms of a rule of court or a statute to implement the doctrine? In short, is the doctrine of forum non conveniens now a dead issue in the state of Washington?

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