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Superior Court Applies Contract Choice Of Law Rules

AT&T Wireless Services, Inc.v. Federal Insurance Company, C.A. No. 030-12-232-WCC (June 25, 2007).

What law applies is often a thorny issue in complicated business cases. It is even more complicated when tort and contract claims are mixed together. Throw in a merger or two and it is a real mess. Here, the Superior Court has cut through this fog to decide that one state's law applies in the whole litigation.

First, the Court determined that the principles of the Restatement of Conflict Section 188 that governs choice of law in contract cases would apply. This was done even though tort claims were also raised by the complaint. The Court reasoned that as the tort claims were based on the existence of the contract, it met the parties' probable expectations to apply contract choice of law principles.

In doing so, the Court focused on the principle place of business of the insured in this contract dispute with its insurers. While that is one of the five factors set out in the Restatement, the Court gave it great weight under the unusual circumstances of this case.

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