Crash in Botswana Will Stay in U.S.

Judge Ruled that case filed against Cessna and Pratt & Whitney Arising from Crash in Botswana Will Stay in U.S.

On April 20, 2016, the judge presiding over Whitehurst, et al. v. Cessna, et al. pending in the District Court of Sedgwick County, Kansas denied defendants’ motion to dismiss the case to Botswana on forum non conveniens grounds. The judge held that defendants did not meet their burden of proving that their proposed alternative forum of Botswana was available. In responding to defendants’ motion, Wisner Law Firm submitted an affidavit of an expert on Botswana law who opined that (1) the Botswana court could not exercise jurisdiction over defendants under Botswana law since defendants do not have assets or property in Botswana to satisfy a judgment; (2) the Botswana court would not accept jurisdiction where these plaintiffs first filed this action in the U.S.; (3) jurisdiction in Botswana may not be created by the consent of the defendants alone; and (4) the court in Botswana would conduct its own forum non conveniens analysis and decline to accept the case. The court found that Botswana was not an available alternative forum for the case to be brought and therefore, denied defendants’ motion. As a result, the case will continue to be litigated in Sedgwick County, Kansas where defendant Cessna is located.

The win in Whitehurst marks just one of many instances where Wisner Law Firm has defeated forum non conveniens motions brought by defendants and kept the case in the U.S. For more on Wisner Law Firm’s other forum non conveniens victories, visit the Forum Non Conveniens Victories section of our website.