AuthorErnesto Sanchez
When a cross-border legal dispute commences, both parties must confront the question of
where, by what forum, and under what law the dispute will be resolved. Merely proceeding in
one forum over another, for example, can make a dierence in such crucial aspects as whether
a case is won or lost or the kinds of damages awarded. e FSIA contains its own framework
for this inquiry.
Chapter 20 highlights how the statute explicitly indicates the venues where plaintis can
bring claims, absent a valid forum selection agreement between parties. Even if a plainti’s
choice of venue is proper, however, a court can still transfer venue within the United States or,
as is more often the case in FSIA litigation, dismiss a case under the common law doctrine of
forum non conveniens.
Forum non conveniens, as Chapter 21 describes, entails a court’s decline of jurisdiction in favor
of foreign courts, which in FSIA cases, are normally defendants’ home courts. If proceedings
arising from a dispute underlying an FSIA matter are also ongoing in a proposed alternative
court abroad, forum non conveniens dismissal, depending on the circumstances surrounding the
U.S. action, becomes more likely. Plaintis in FSIA disputes who strongly desire a U.S. forum
may consequently have to consider strategies for blocking defendants from initiating such for-
eign proceedings.
Chapter 22 discusses the FSIA’s provisions for an action’s removal from state to federal court.
In addition, the chapter outlines why, despite state courts’ concurrent jurisdiction over FSIA
claims, federal courts remain a much more appropriate forum.
All these complicating issues, however, can be avoided in situations where potential defen-
dants covered by the FSIA enter into contracts with private parties that contain forum selection
agreements in circumstances where the United States would be an even remotely conceivable
forum for subsequent disputes arising from such contracts. As Chapter 23 describes, U.S. courts
will most likely defer to eectively written forum selection clauses in contracts that specically
designate where and how such disputes are to be resolved.
ForSovImmunAct_book.indb 239 4/11/13 3:32 PM

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