Insurance law – Automobile insurance – Jurisdiction – Location of contract – Conflict of laws – Choice of law – Forum of necessity
Romanko v. Nettina,  O.J. No. 6491, 2014 ONSC 5153, Ontario Superior Court, September 8, 2014, S.T. Bale J.
The insureds Ontario residents were injured in a motor-vehicle accident while driving in New York State. The insureds brought an action in Ontario against the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident, a resident of New York State, and their Ontario automobile insurer. The insureds also commenced an action in New York State against the driver of the other vehicle and his insurer.
The driver of the other vehicle brought an application for a declaration that the Ontario Superior Court did not have jurisdiction over him arguing that there were no “presumptive connecting factors” that would permit the court to assume jurisdiction.
The insureds argued that their contract of insurance with their insurer in Ontario was a presumptive connecting factor and that the court should assume jurisdiction based on the doctrine of forum of necessity on the basis that they would not be able to obtain relief in New York State because one of the insureds had a criminal record.
The Court concluded that the insureds’ contract of insurance with their Ontario automobile insurer was not a presumptive connecting factor and that this was not a case in which the court should assume jurisdiction based on the doctrine of forum of necessity. The doctrine of forum of necessity allows a domestic court to assume jurisdiction where there is no other forum where the plaintiff could reasonably seek relief.
The Court found that there was nothing connecting the insureds’ insurance contract to the driver of the other vehicle who was a resident of New York State, where the accident took place. The Court was not satisfied that the insureds could not seek relief in New York State.
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