On Dec. 5, 2008, the Texas Supreme Court granted mandamus relief concluding that a judge abused his discretion when he denied some motions to dismiss for forum non conveniens. The case involved an asbestos plaintiff who lived, worked, was allegedly injured, and medically treated in Maine. The case was filed in Dallas on the basis that some defendants had their corporate headquarters in Texas. The defendants moved for dismissal arguing that the case should be transferred back to Maine. The plaintiffs argued that it would be unjust to transfer the case to Maine because it would be subject to removal to federal court and then could be transferred to the Asbestos MDL where it would languish for years. After the trial court was unable to convince some defendants to waive their right to remove the case to federal court, it denied their motion to dismiss. In its ruling, the Supreme Court acknowledged that docket congestion and other matters do cause delay but, nevertheless, stated that this factor was insufficient to keep the case in Texas if the alternative court is capable of affording the plaintiff a jury trial and due process. In fact, the court stated that this factor alone ``weighed strongly, if not conclusively,`` in favor of plaintiff`s action being heard outside the state of Texas. The court also reviewed all of the factors under Section 71.051, and stated that requiring Texas litigants to defend cases where the witnesses and proof are outside the reach of compulsory process would be a ``substantial injustice`` to defendants.

Link to In re General Electric opinion.