Legal Memorandum: Place-of-injury Rule in NJ

Issue: In New Jersey diversity cases, do courts follow the place-of-injury rule?

Area of Law: Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Place-of-injury rule; State's interest in resolution of the lawsuit
Jurisdiction: New Jersey
Cited Cases: 622 A.2d 935; 750 F. Supp. 1222; 963 F. Supp. 409; 901 F. Supp. 900
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 01/01/2000

Although New Jersey no longer follows the place-of-injury rule to determine which state’s substantive law to apply, the place of injury continues to be an important factor that reflects that state’s interest in resolution of the lawsuit.  Capone v. Nadig, 963 F. Supp. 409, 413 (D.N.J. 1997).  Each state has a strong interest in deterring manufacturers of defective or injurious products from manufacturing and distributing their products in that state.  Thus, the state in which the injury occurred will, necessarily, have a strong interest in application of its laws to resolve the personal injury lawsuit.  Only if the application of a state’s substantive law actually relates to furthering its governmental interest can the court consider that the state has a substantial interest in the litigation.  Hoffman Equip., Inc. v. Clark Equip. Co., 750 F. Supp. 1222, 1229 (D.N.J. 1990).

In Hoffman Equip., this Court applied New Jersey’s choice-of-law rules to decide that Virgin Islands’ law applied to a diversity indemnification action based on a worker’s injury in the Virgin Islands.  Analyzing the various factors, the court concluded that the Virgin Islands had a "significantly greater" interest in the resolution of the controversy.  Id., 750 F. Supp. at 1231.  Importantly, the cause of action arose in the Virgin Islands.  Id. at 1231.  "Because it is the situs of the accident, the Virgin Islands has an interest in maintaining construction safety and deterring negligent construction operation and negligent construction equipment design maintenance, inspection and certification."  Id. […]

Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)