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Case Update: Maryland Court Declines to Rule on Forum non Conveniens

In this underlying case filed in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Plaintiff filed a tort action against Defendant, alleging negligence. The trial court denied Defendant's motion to dismiss or in the alternative to change venue to Montgomery County, which Defendant argued was the proper venue. Defendant appealed the denial, raising the questions of whether Defendant could immediately appeal the trial court's denial of a motion to transfer for improper venue, and if so, whether the trial court erred in denying Defendant's motion. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals determined that Defendant could not immediately appeal the denial of the motion to transfer, and so the remaining question was rendered moot.

On appeal, the Court held that the decision to grant a motion to transfer for forum non conveniens would be immediately appealable as a final judgment, while the denial of the same motion was not. In so holding, the Corot relied on precedent set forth in Brewster v. Woodhaven Bldg. & Development, Inc., where it stated that an order transferring a case out of a particular court (or out of every court) is considered a final judgment because such a decision terminates further litigation in the transferring court. Thus, such a decision would be immediately appealable. Here, the Court of Special Appeals declined to accept Defendant's attempt to change common law, finding that it would not be in the best interest of justice and thus, dismissed the appeal.

Kulikov v. Baffoe-Harding, Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, Case No. 1475 (November 21, 2013)

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