State Law

Despite suggestions that federal law should govern all relations with other countries, state law and state courts play a prominent role in transnational litigation. State law governs the enforcement of foreign judgments and the choice of law for state-created causes of action. State courts apply their own doctrines of forum non conveniens. And the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure incorporate state law on questions from personal jurisdiction to service of process.

A Primer on State Law in Transnational Litigation

[Editors: This post is one in a series of Primers on topics in transnational litigation. Primers on each of the topics listed in the Topics menu are planned, and some already appear on the relevant topic pages.] The procedural and substantive rules that U.S. courts apply in transnational litigation come from many sources, including the…

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Recent Posts

When Should Federal Common Law Govern Transnational Litigation?

The conventional wisdom is that transnational litigation “can trigger foreign relations concerns.” Because the federal government has primary responsibility for the United States’ relations with other nations, the question naturally arises whether federal law should govern such litigation even when neither a federal statute, nor the U.S. Constitution, nor a treaty is applicable. Currently, as…

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Substituted Service and the Hague Service Convention

Can state law be used to avoid a federal treaty, even though the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution makes treaties supreme over state law? The somewhat surprising answer is yes—at least when it comes to the Hague Service Convention and state rules on substituted service. The Hague Service Convention governs transnational service of process…

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State Doctrines of Forum Non Conveniens: Beyond Gulf Oil

State courts have their own doctrines for addressing transnational litigation, including their own doctrines of forum non conveniens (FNC). While a majority of states today apply a version of FNC like that of the federal courts, we found that 17 states—fully one third—depart from the Gulf Oil framework in one or more ways.

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