Legal Memorandum: Determination of Conflicts of Law Issues

Issue: When dealing with a case brought in Florida, how does a court determine which law governs with respect to the dangerous instrumentality doctrine?

Area of Law: Administrative Law, Administrative Law & Regulation (Federal and State), Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Conflicts of law issues; Significant relationships test; Dangerous instrumentality doctrine
Jurisdiction: Florida
Cited Cases: 515 So. 2d 413; 389 So. 2d 999; 447 So. 2d 232; 567 So. 2d 918; 700 So. 2d 120; 587 So. 2d 570
Cited Statutes: Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws §§ 145-146 (1971), 174
Date: 05/01/2000

           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).

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:

#brad_icons_1 li a{color:#999999;}