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Bolivian Suit Moved To Washington from Rural Texas County Court
Description Federal court in Texas moved a suit by Bolivia against tobacco companies to federal court in Washington after it had been moved to federal court from the rural Texas state court where the case was filed. Multiple similar actions might be consolidated in Washington for a complex trial
Topic International Law
Key Words Jurisdiction, Venue, Forum Shopping
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts The Republic of Bolivia sued tobacco companies to recover health care costs it incurred for tobacco-related health problems. Suit was filed in state court in Brazoria County, Texas. Defendants moved the case to federal court and requested that the actions be consolidated at the federal court in the District of Columbia. Plaintiffs opposed the motion.
Decision Case moved. This is one of at least six similar actions filed by various nations in various courts in the U.S. "Why none of these countries seems to have a court system their own governments have confidence in is a mystery to this Court. Moreover ... 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." Washington is a better venue given that all parties have embassies in the city and it is more convenient than south Texas. The federal court in Washington is "better able to rise to the smoky challenges presented by this case."
Citation Republic of Bolivia v. Philip Morris Companies, Inc., - F.Supp.2d - (1999 WL 123300, S.D.Tex.)
39 F.Supp.2d 1008 (S.D., Tex., 1999)

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