The Minnesota Legislature amended the law to close the "loophole" that allowed this kind of forum shopping in 2007, but thousands of cases from before it was closed remain on the docket. Smith wants the Legislature to make the 2007 change retroactive, thereby wiping those cases from the docket and freeing up valuable court-time for more Minnesota-related matters.
From May 2004 through the end of 2007, nearly 9,700 individual
plaintiffs commenced product liability actions in Minnesota’s state and federal
courts against nonresident corporate defendants. Amazingly, nearly 9,000 of
those plaintiffs also hail from outside Minnesota. Not one of those 9,000 bought
the alleged injury-causing product in Minnesota, was harmed in Minnesota, sought
medical treatment in Minnesota, or has any connection whatsoever with this
state. Nor was a single complained-of product manufactured here. Yet, for the
vast majority of these plaintiffs, Minnesota is their forum of choice for one
reason — their lawsuits are time-barred in their home states, indeed everywhere
else in the country, but not in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. (Click here to see Smith's full piece.)
It's an excellent argument that makes a lot of sense from a court-resources point of view, although no doubt the thousands of plaintiffs who are under the impression that their cases will be heard would be devastated. Any thoughts?