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Florida Third DCA affirms trial court’s dismissal on forum non conveniens grounds of breach of contract case between foreign companies

On August 12, 2020, in Certain Underwriting members of Lloyd’s, Syndicates 623 and 2623 v. Prime Holdings Insurance Services, No. 3D19-2322, the Florida Third DCA affirmed a trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s complaint on forum non conveniences grounds. The lawsuit involved an alleged breach by the defendant claims administrator (“CDA”) of its contractual  obligations to the plaintiff insurer (“Certain Underwriters”) regarding administration of a personal injury claim made under commercial liability policy.  The accident giving rise to the personal injury claim occurred in Cocoa Beach, Florida.  The Third DCA noted that the plaintiff is a foreign company with its principal place of business in the United Kingdom  and “tenuous” ties to Florida, so the Court afforded little deference to its choice of a Florida forum. The defendant is an Illinois corporation with its principal place of business in Utah, and the claim was both presented and adjusted in Utah.  The Third DCA’s opinion is notable for its extensive discussion of the doctrine of forum non conveniens as it is applied to out-of-state parties attempting to avail themselves of Florida’s court system, as articulated by the Florida Supreme Court in Kinney System, Inc. v. Continental Insurance Co., 674 So. 2d 86 (Fla. 1996) and Cortez v. Palace Resorts, Inc., 123 So. 3d 1085 (Fla. 2013).

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