Two foreign corporations entered into a contract for the sale of cell phones from one to the other. The contract contained a forum selection clause designating California as the forum for resolution of disputes. But the contract otherwise had no connection with California. When one contracting party filed suit against the other in California, the court dismissed the action on forum non-conveniens grounds. This opinion affirms the dismissal. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that suitable alternative forums exist and that California has no public interest in burdening its courts with an action lacking any identifiable connection to the state. Under CCP 430.10(a), a trial court may, on its own motion, stay or dismiss an action if it finds that it should be heard in a forum other than California. The trial court’s determination is reviewed for abuse of discretion. Here, the was ample support for the trial court’s finding that several East Asian countries provided suitable alternative forums for the dispute. Although California may have been freely chosen given its neutrality, this does not establish that California is a reasonable forum. A California court may dismiss a purely foreign suit for forum non-conveniens.
California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 5 (Kriegler, J.; Baker, J., dissenting); March 16, 2018; 2018 WL 1357461