Sometimes cases are brought in one state even though the events occurred in another. There are a variety of reasons for this but, the question arises “how does a Connecticut court handle a case from another state?” A recent case in the Connecticut Supreme Court highlighted how courts will handle this. In Ronald Gold et al. vs. John Rowald et al.,
Connecticut Supreme Court Case No. SC19585 (April 11, 2017), the Court was resolving various issues with regard to the 2001 de-mutualization of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. (The facts of the case are not really important for our purposes, but they involved how the proceeds of the de-mutializtion were distributed – either to the State of Connecticut, or directly to various state employees. The Court held they go to the State.) Anyhow, the Court looked at the contract at issue and found the parties agreed that Indiana law would apply. Not a problem. A Connecticut court would simply apply the law of Indiana to interpreting the contracts. That is what it did here. It simply looked at the law from Indiana, and then applied it, just like an Indiana court would.
Now, there are procedural issues that the lawyers need to do in order to get a Connecticut court to see the Indiana laws, but they are not terribly difficult to overcome. Also, this case did not engage in a “choice of law” analysis. That is when there is actually a dispute about which law should apply. If that occurred, the Court would first have to go through an analysis to determine which state law applied, and then it would apply the law. Here, because the parties agreed to the choice of law in advance, the Court simply moved on to analysis.
This is fairly common, but should be looked at both before you enter an agreement with a choice of law, as well as whenever there is a dispute or lawsuit.