News & Events

Skarzynski Black Wins Dismissal on Forum Non Conveniens Affirmed After Hard-Fought Battle

December 18, 2014
After a long battle, Skarzynski Black achieved a major victory for its client, an individual shareholder of a privately held company in India.  The suit was filed in New York state court against Skarzynski Black’s client seeking enforcement of an alleged 20-year-old agreement for the sale of stock in the Indian company.  Although Skarzynski Black’s client is a New York resident, the suit was a collateral challenge to his stock ownership that was already in issue in pending complex multi-party litigation in India.   

Over the course of the New York litigation, the plaintiff filed several orders to show cause seeking to gain control of the stock owned by Skarzynski Black’s client.  In response, Skarzynski Black made a successful motion to dismiss the Complaint.  The initial motion to dismiss ruling was reversed on appeal but, on remand, Skarzynski Black brought a new motion for dismissal on the basis of forum non conveniens.  Although the Court acknowledged that the suit “could” be litigated in New York, it agreed with Skarzynski Black that the interrelationship with the pending litigation and the risk of inconsistent rulings warranted dismissal.  The court also agreed that India has a substantial interest in adjudicating the dispute in light of the related cases already pending in India and the fact that witnesses and evidence relevant to the defense of the case is located in India. 

Plaintiff appealed again but, this time, the Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal.  The appellate court, like the trial court, acknowledged that the suit “could” be litigated in New York but agreed with Skarzynski Black’s arguments that the suit would be “better adjudicated” in India where non-identical but related suits were pending, a global resolution might be reached, in light of the availability of witnesses and evidence, and there is less potential for hardship and prejudice to the defendant posed by inconsistent judgments in New York and India. 

Plaintiff’s motion for leave to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals was denied.

To review the Appellate Division’s decision, click here.

To learn more about this decision and its impact on your business, please contact:

Evan Shapiro, Esq.
(212) 820-7712