Monday, March 30, 2009

Don't Mess with Texas: Lessons in U.S. Venue Selection

Q: Are you a foreign country, looking to sue an American cigarette company to recover the costs of health care for your nicotine-addled citizens? Why not try suing in the Southern District of Texas, in the court of District Judge Samuel B. Kent?
A: 'Cause there's a good chance he's going to burn you for being foreign, with the most withering sarcasm ever committed to a law report:
[G]iven the tremendous number of United States jurisdictions encompassing fascinating and exotic places, the Court can hardly imagine why the Republic of Bolivia elected to file suit in the veritable hinterlands of Brazoria County, Texas. The Court seriously doubts whether Brazoria County has ever seen a live Bolivian ... even on the Discovery Channel.

You hear that, Bolivia? Git yer ass back to whatever part of Mexico you crawled from!
[T]he Court is virtually certain that Bolivia is not within the four counties over which this Court presides, even though the words Bolivia and Brazoria are a lot alike and caused some real, initial confusion until the court conferred with its law clerks. Thus, it is readily apparent, even from an outdated globe such as that possessed by this Court, that Bolivia, a hemisphere away, ain't in south-central Texas, and that, at the very least, the District of Columbia is a more appropriate venue (though Bolivia isn't located there either.)

That'll learn ya. Now don't you show your filthy foreign face in Judge Kent's court again.

The hilarious Judge Kent is presently under indictment for alleged sexual harassment of a court clerk, who is probably not Bolivian.

Republic of Bolivia v. Philip Morris Companies, Inc., 39 F. Supp. 2d 1008 (S.D. Tex. 1999).


Will said...

Well that ended on a surprising down-note.

Sexual harassment: not hilarious.

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