Jurisdiction over jurisdictional issue; choice of law affirmance

In National Union v. American Eurocopter, a contribution suit arising from settlement of claims about a helicopter crash, a Hawaii district court found no personal jurisdiction and transferred venue to Texas.  No. 11-10798 (Aug. 27, 2012).  The appellant challenged that ruling, and the Fifth Circuit held that it lacked jurisdiction over that issue.  Id at 4 (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 1294, defining appellate jurisdiction as reaching “appeals . . . [f]rom a district court of the United States to the court of appeals for the circuit embracing the district”).  On the merits, the Court affirmed a dispositive choice-of-law ruling for Texas law, noting a Texas choice-of-law provision in a relevant contract, a rough balance between the place of the accident (Hawaii) and the defendants’ headquarters (Texas), and the relatively weak interest of an out-of-state insurer.  Id. at 5-7 (noting Beech Aircraft v. Jinkins,  739 S.W.2d 19 (Tex. 1987)).

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