Legal Memorandum: Choice-of-Law Rules in FL

Issue: What are the choice-of-law rules applied by the Florida courts?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Conflicts of law issues; Significant relationships test
Jurisdiction: Florida
Cited Cases: 389 So. 2d 999; 447 So. 2d 232; 567 So. 2d 918; 509 So. 2d 1112; 700 So. 2d 120; 587 So. 2d 570
Cited Statutes: Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws §§ 145-146 (1971), 174
Date: 00/01/2000

Florida applies the “significant relationships test” for determining conflicts of law issues.  Florida adopted the test in 1980 in connection with substantive law decisions.  Bishop v. Florida Specialty Paint Co., 389 So. 2d 999 (Fla. 1980).  In 1987, it adopted the “significant relationships test” in connection with procedural determinations.  Bates v. Cook, 509 So. 2d 1112 (Fla. 1987).[1]

The “significant relationships test” is based on the analysis in the Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws §§ 145-146 (1971).  Section 145 provides:


(1) The rights and liabilities of the parties with respect to an issue in tort are determined by the local law of the state which, with respect to that issue, has the most significant relationship to the occurrence and the parties under the principles stated in § 6.

(2) Contacts to be taken into account in applying the principles of

§ 6 to determine the law applicable to an issue include:

(a) the place where the injury occurred,

(b) the place where the conduct causing the injury occurred,

(c) the domicil, residence, nationality, place of incorporation and place of business of the parties, and

(d) the place where the relationship, if any, between the parties is centered.

The Restatement analysis continues on with seven factors to be evaluated.  However, most of the cases do not evaluate the factors in the […]

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