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Prima Facie Case: Home Country v. Foreign Country Research Paper

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Updated: Mar 31st, 2022

Name of the case and its citation

The case in Question is the case of “Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A, et al. v. Brown et, ux.,” (Syllabus1, 2010, n.p). “Co-Administrators of the Estate of brown, et al., Certiorari to the high court of Appeals of North Carolina Supreme Court No.10-76. Argued January 11, 2011-Decided June 27, 2011” (Syllabus, 2010, n.p).

Parties to the case

The Petitioners are Goodyear Dunlop Tires Corporation, a Tire Company and the respondents are North Carolina residents who lost their sons in a bus accident in France.

Particulars

There was a fatal bus accident outside Paris in France amounting to the deaths of the respondents sons who hailed from North Carolina. The suit was brought by Goodyear Dunlop Tire Operations based in France complaining about wrongful death damages in the North Carolina state court claiming that the deaths were as a result of a tire failure caused By Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations who are based in Ohio.

The petitioners were three subsidiaries of the Goodyear Dunlop Tires company who took part in organization and operations in France, Turkey and Luxembourg. The petitioners were not registered to carry out business in North Carolina and their tires were specifically made for the European and Asian Markets.

The petitioners did not sell, advertise, solicit, manufacture, design nor did they have a place of business in the United States. They did not engage with the North Carolinas residents in the Buyer-seller contract. However, some of their products managed to penetrate the North Carolina market through their affiliates in the United States of America. They applied for a petition to have the trial taken to France which was rejected.

The constitutional issues in the case

The first Constitutional issue arising in this case was whether the North Carolina Supreme court had general jurisdiction in the matter. This is a contentious issue as goodyear was a company registered in Ohio and did not carry out any of their operation in North Carolina or in the United States of America. In fact there products were only found in the United States due to the actions or inactions of their affiliates.

The issues on jurisdiction that arose in this case were issues of ‘lex fori’. This is whether the North Carolina Court was the most appropriate court to hear the petition as France had the most substantial connection with the case. The mother company was registered in France and companies in the United States were only its subsidiaries. The accident also happened in France outside the United States of America (Ginsburg, 2011).

Another issue concerning jurisdiction was whether the case in France would be more favorable and comfortable to the residents of North Carolina in terms of affordability and comfortability.

Decision of the court in terms of votes

The decision of the court was unanimous. All the nine jury members voted for dismissal of personal jurisdiction by the petitioners.

Opinion of the court

The North Carolina court in dismissing the motion for petitioners and upholding the jurisdiction of the trial courts held that north Carolina would be the most suitable place for the trial of the case as there was organized marketing of the company’s product in the United States Market as the tires that caused the injuries were made according to quality standards of the United States standard and bore markings which were similar to other tires in the united state and accordingly distribution was through a stream of commerce.

The Courts also stated that the victims of the accident were children of North Carolina and the Parents were residents of North Carolina so the courts of North Carolina would be in their best interest. This was because they were going to be cost effective and the residents were accustomed to the procedures of their home courts and had faith that the matter would be handled without prejudice.

Rationale of the opinion and concurring opinions

The above decision is supported by the case of “International shoes company Limited v Washington” (Bickford, 2011, p. 25). Where it was held that as long as there is minimal connection to a state a personal jurisdiction can be made as long as courts handle the matter fairly and without prejudice.

This is also supported by the fourteenth Amendment Provisional Clause. Since the evidence showed that the petitioners actions were regular and continuous action could take place in North Carolina and this is supported by the case of Helicopteros, (466 U. S., at 416.), (Erbsen, 2011).

New opinions

There are also contrary opinions to the decision of the jury in the Goodyear’s case and this is illustrated in World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, (444 U. S. 286, 297). In this case, it is argued that although a country does have some connection to the facts of the case and particulars of the case in a minimal way, it does not give that country the right to have general jurisdiction of the case provided that the personal jurisdiction of the case would ensure fair play and dissemination of substantial justice (Tizard, 2011).

Significance

This is a prima facie case in laying out the procedures to follow in solving jurisdictional issues between the home country and the foreign country (Bickford, 2011).

Reference List

Bickford, J. (2011). : Posted Thursday, June 30th, 2011. Web.

Erbsen, A. (2011). . Web.

Ginsburg, B.R, J. (2011) Goodyear v Brown. Web.

Syllabus1 (2010), , 2010. Web.

Tizard, C. J (2011) Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations S.A. v. Brown Syllabus, New Orleans. Web.

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