Bill Text: GA HB242 | 2011-2012 | Regular Session | Enrolled
Bill Title: American Laws for Georgia Courts Act; enact [Track Bill]
Status: 2012-02-24 - House Committee Favorably Reported [HB242 Detail]
12 LC 29 5186ERS
The House Committee on Judiciary Non-civil offers the following substitute to
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
To amend Chapter 3 of Title 1 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to laws and statutes, so as to revise provisions relating to the effect and enforcement of foreign laws; to provide that no court, arbitration panel, administrative agency, or other tribunal shall enforce a foreign law if doing so would violate a right guaranteed by the United States Constitution or the Georgia Constitution; to provide for definitions; to provide for exceptions; to change provisions relating to forum non conveniens; to amend Part 1 of Article 2 of Chapter 10 of Title 9 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions relating to venue, so as to provide for a cross-reference; to provide for related matters; to provide for an effective date and applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
Chapter 3 of Title 1 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to laws and statutes, is amended by revising Code Section 1-3-9, relating to the effect and enforcement of foreign laws, as follows:
(a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) 'Foreign law' means any law, legal code, or system of a jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States, including, but not limited to, international organizations and tribunals, and applied by such jurisdiction's courts, administrative bodies, or other formal or informal tribunals. For the purposes of this Code section, the term shall not mean, nor shall it include, any laws of the Native American tribes in this state.
(2) 'Tribunal' means a court, administrative agency, tribunal, arbitrator, or arbitration panel.
(b) The laws of other states and foreign nations law shall have no force and effect of themselves within this state further than is provided by the Constitution of the United States and is recognized by the comity of states. The courts shall enforce this comity, unless restrained by the General Assembly, so long as its enforcement is not contrary to the policy or prejudicial to the interests of this state.
(c) Any tribunal ruling shall be void and unenforceable if the tribunal bases its ruling in whole or in part on any foreign law that would deny the parties the rights and privileges granted under the United States Constitution or the Georgia Constitution.
(d)(1) This Code section shall not apply to Part 2 of Article 1 of Chapter 9 of Title 9 involving international arbitration.
(2) This Code section shall not apply to Article 3 of Chapter 5 of Title 14.
(3) This Code section shall not apply to a corporation, partnership, limited liability company, business association, sole proprietorship, or other legal entity that contracts to subject itself to foreign law; provided, however, that the exception provided by this paragraph shall not apply to domestic relation contracts, including, but not limited to, antenuptial agreements or contracts, divorce agreements, adoptions, and other contracts or agreements related to or arising from matters of family law.
(e) When litigation is pending in this state, no court shall grant a motion of forum non conveniens to allow a case to be refiled in a foreign jurisdiction outside any state or territory of the United States unless the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the foreign jurisdiction has in place a body of foreign law, the application of which would not lead to the violation of rights and privileges guaranteed by the United States Constitution or the Georgia Constitution to a party in the litigation.
(f) If a tribunal denies the protections provided by this Code section, it shall make written findings of fact and conclusions of law in support of its decision."
Part 1 of Article 2 of Chapter 10 of Title 9 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions relating to venue, is amended by revising Code Section 9-10-31.1, relating to forums outside of this state, as follows:
(a) If a court of this state, on written motion of a party, finds that in the interest of justice and for the convenience of the parties and witnesses a claim or action would be more properly heard in a forum outside this state or in a different county of proper venue within this state, the court shall decline to adjudicate the matter under the doctrine of forum non conveniens. As to a claim or action that would be more properly heard in a forum outside this state, the court shall dismiss the claim or action. As to a claim or action that would be more properly heard in a different county of proper venue within this state, the venue shall be transferred to the appropriate county. In determining whether to grant a motion to dismiss an action or to transfer venue under the doctrine of forum non conveniens, the court shall give consideration to the following factors:
(1) Relative ease of access to sources of proof;
(2) Availability and cost of compulsory process for attendance of unwilling witnesses;
(3) Possibility of viewing of the premises, if viewing would be appropriate to the action;
(4) Unnecessary expense or trouble to the defendant not necessary to the plaintiff's own right to pursue his or her remedy;
(5) Administrative difficulties for the forum courts;
(6) Existence of local interests in deciding the case locally; and
(7) The provisions of Code Section 1-3-9; and
(7)(8) The traditional deference given to a plaintiff's choice of forum.
(b) A court may not dismiss a claim under this Code section until the defendant files with the court or with the clerk of the court a written stipulation that, with respect to a new action on the claim commenced by the plaintiff, all the defendants waive the right to assert a statute of limitations defense in all other states of the United States in which the claim was not barred by limitations at the time the claim was filed in this state as necessary to effect a tolling of the limitations periods in those states beginning on the date the claim was filed in this state and ending on the date the claim is dismissed."
This Act shall become effective on July 1, 2012, and shall apply to contracts executed on or after July 1, 2012.
All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.