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Heine v.

New York Life Insurance Company


Facts
The New York Life Insurance Company and the Guardian Insurance Company ("the insurance
companies") were corporations created in New York, USA. As conditions to be allowed to conduct
business in Germany, they were made to agree to be supervised by German authorities, to invest the
proceeds of policies in German securities, and to establish a local agency to whom summons may be
served. The insurance companies were later sued before courts in both the US and Germany for the
recovery on some 240 life insurance policies issued in Germany to German nationals, payable in German
currency.

Arguments for the Plaintiff


As the US courts have jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties, they have no choice but to try
the case.

Issue
Whether or not the US courts may dismiss the case on the ground of forum non conveniens.

Held
Yes. Under the circumstances, the case may be more suitably tried before German courts.

Ratio Decidendi
The courts in both jurisdictions are competent to try the case and summons may be served upon the
insurance companies in both jurisdictions. Requiring the insurance companies to defend their interests
in the US would subject them to great and unnecessary inconvenience and expenses, including the
possibility of having to bring documentary evidence all the way from their office in Germany. Moreover,
trying the case in the US additionally burden the courts in that jurisdiction, to the detriment of other
litigants. The assumption of jurisdiction over a case the cause of action of which arose from another
jurisdiction and wherein both parties are non-residents is discretionary upon the court.