After a Mexican court refused to exercise jurisdiction over personal injury claims involving an allegedly defective product used in eye surgery conducted in a Mexican clinic, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has remanded the claims of elderly Mexican residents to a U.S. district court that had dismissed the suit on forum non conveniens grounds. Gutierrez v. Advanced Med. Optics, Inc., No. 09-55860 (9th Cir., decided April 7, 2011).
While the Ninth Circuit found that the district court did not err in its initial inconvenient forum analysis, because the Mexican courts dismissed the claims in the interim, the Ninth Circuit decided that the district court should reconsider its ruling. On remand, the court must consider why the Mexican courts refused to hear the claims, and, “if the district court determines that the Mexican courts declined to take jurisdiction of Plaintiffs’ case because Defendant is not domiciled in Mexico and cannot submit to Mexico’s jurisdiction, it would be an abuse of discretion for the district court to dismiss Plaintiffs’ case based on forum non conveniens grounds.”