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Madison County, Illinois Circuit Court Judge Grants Forum Non Conveniens Motions
Judge Clarence Harrison of the Madison County Circuit Court (IL) has recently granted forum non conveniens motions in two cases. In both matters, the court made clear its disapproval of what it referred to as the “arcane doctrine” of forum non conveniens throughout the opinion though the court was compelled to follow Illinois in both matters for different reasons. In the first case, Syrrakos v. Ford Motor, et al., 10-L-1118, there were two Wisconsin resident witnesses who signed affidavits stating that it would be inconvenient for them to come to Madison County and the Ford Motor plant at issue was also located in Wisconsin. The court found these facts compelling enough to grant the motion stating that “despite the inherent impracticality and delay occasioned by the dismissal of a case from one proper forum to compel its refilling and redevelopment in a second proper forum, the particular facts of this case are more in accord with the pronouncements in Laverty than those in Fennell.” In the second case, Belle v. Advance Auto Parts, et al., 10-L-1278, Judge Harrison granted the forum motion based on the compelling argument that another state’s laws applied. The court found the choice of law argument brought this case more in accord with the pronouncements in the Laverty case, than the more recent Fennell decision.