Any port in a storm

Two boats collided.  The district court dismissed the resulting tort litigation in favor of Mexico on forum non conveniens grounds.  Cotemar S.A. de C.V. v. Hornbeck Offshore Services, No. 13-20230 (May 21, 2014, unpublished).  After that dismissal, the plaintiff seized the offending vessel in Louisiana (still there at the time of this writing).  The Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded for further analysis.  The first point dealt with a potential time bar in the Mexican system.  “If access to relief in the Mexican courts has become time-barred for reasons not of Appellants’ ‘own making,’ then the Mexican courts are no
longer an available alternative forum.”  (citing Veba-Chemie AG v. M/V Getafix, 711 F.2d 1243, 1248 n.10 (5th Cir. 1983)).   Second, the “supervening change of circumstances” arising from the vessel seizure may affect the balancing of private and public factors, because a transfer to Mexico would now likely result in duplicative proceedings.

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