Cases & Deals

Sinochem prevails in U.S. Supreme Court in dispute involving jurisdictional rules that apply in U.S. federal courts

Client(s) Sinochem International Co., Ltd.

A team of Jones Day lawyers located in Washington, D.C. and Shanghai obtained a 9-0 victory in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of our client Sinochem International Co., Ltd., in an important dispute involving the jurisdictional rules that apply in U.S. federal courts. In Sinochem Int'l Co., Ltd. v. Malaysia International Shipping Corp., No. 06-102, writing for the unanimous Court, Justice Ginsburg held that "a district court has discretion to respond at once to a defendant's forum non conveniens plea, and need not take up first any other threshold objection."

The Supreme Court's holding reversed the Third Circuit's ruling, which required that the district court first conclusively establish personal jurisdiction over Sinochem before granting Sinochem's motion to dismiss a suit on the ground of forum non conveniens. The Court went on to observe that "[t]his is a textbook case for immediate forum non conveniens dismissal," and that "[j]udicial economy is disserved by continuing litigation in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania." This victory for Sinochem may also have important consequences in future cases brought in U.S. courts against non-U.S. companies having little or no connection to the United States, because the non-U.S. companies will now be able to seek prompt dismissals on forum non conveniens grounds without first requiring the federal courts to make a conclusive inquiry into jurisdiction, which in many cases can be costly and prolonged.

Greg Castanias argued the case in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sinochem Int'l Co., Ltd. v. Malaysia Int'l Shipping Corp., No. 06-102 (S. Ct.)