A well-reasoned opinion from Massachusetts, Reisch v. McGuigan, 745 F. Supp. 56 (D. Mass. 1990), supports this conclusion. In Reisch, a New Jersey plaintiff filed suit against a Massachusetts driver for an accident which occurred in Quebec. The court held that Massachusetts law applied irrespective of plaintiffs' recovery under the QAIA. Moreover, the court reasoned that "restricting an American citizen to the limited recovery available under the [QAIA] would give the [QAIA] an extraterritorial effect which it does not clearly express and which might seriously impinge on the sovereign interests of an American state." Id. at 61. See also Nevader v. Deyo, 111 A.D.2d 548, 489 N.Y.S.2d 420, 422 (App. Div. 1985) (even though plaintiff was recovering under the QAIA, tort action in New York was still permitted).
C. Indispensable Parties
Because certain parties connected to the accident are outside the territorial jurisdiction of this Court, defendants contend that under Rule 19(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure the case should be dismissed.
Defendants allege that they will be severely prejudiced because "indispensable parties" cannot be joined in this action. The indispensable parties the defendants cite are Hertz of Canada, Ltd. (the owner of the automobile) and the two other drivers involved in the accident.
This contention is without merit. As potential joint tortfeasors, Hertz and the drivers cannot be considered indispensable parties. It is "error to label joint tortfeasors as indispensable parties under Rule 19(b) . . . . It has long been the rule that is not necessary for all joint tortfeasors to be named as defendants in a single lawsuit." Temple v. Synthes Corp., 498 U.S. 5, 7, 112 L. Ed. 2d 263, 111 S. Ct. 315. Accordingly, plaintiffs' inability to join Hertz and the other drivers provides insufficient reason to dismiss this action.
D. Forum Non Conveniens
Defendants contend, finally, that because parties involved in the accident are outside this Court's jurisdiction and because the action's sole nexus to New York is as the domicile of the defendants, this case should be dismissed under the doctrine of forum non conveniens. We disagree.
In order to reach a decision in a forum non conveniens inquiry, a court must balance the private interest factors which affect the litigants' convenience and the public interest factors which affect the forum's convenience. Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 91 L. Ed. 1055, 67 S. Ct. 839 (1947). In Piper Aircraft v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 70 L. Ed. 2d 419, 102 S. Ct. 252 (1981), the Supreme Court emphasized that no one factor is determinative: "If central emphasis were placed on any one factor, the forum non conveniens doctrine would lose much of the very flexibility that makes it so valuable." Id. at 249-50.
A public interest factor weighing against dismissal is that Quebec does not provide a suitable alternative forum. Because Quebec does not recognize common law negligence actions and limits compensation to a statutory cap, plaintiffs could not bring an action for the remedy they seek in Quebec. Although the prospect of an unfavorable change in law does not, by itself, bar dismissal, id. at 250, it is a significant factor. "If the remedy provided by the alternative forum is so clearly inadequate or unsatisfactory that it is no remedy at all, the unfavorable change in law may be given substantial weight; the district court may conclude that dismissal would not be in the interests of justice." Id. at 254. Because the Quebec courts are not amenable to the plaintiffs' type of tort action, we give this factor substantial weight.
Defendants contend, nevertheless, that New York is an inconvenient forum for this litigation because the operators of the other vehicles involved in the accident are in Quebec and because this action's only contact with New York is the residence of the defendants. Defendants rely heavily on Blais v. Deyo, 92 A.D.2d 998, 461 N.Y.S.2d 471 (App. Div. 1983) to support their position. Blais involved an automobile accident in Quebec in which Canadian residents brought suit against the New York owner of the automobile in which they were passengers. The suit was dismissed on forum non conveniens grounds. Defendants contend that Blais should govern this case. This position, however, is unpersuasive. First, the location of parties outside of New York does not dictate dismissal on forum non conveniens grounds. See Moschera v. Muraca, 148 A.D.2d 591, 539 N.Y.S.2d 56 (App. Div. 1989) (action between New York passengers and their driver allowed even though the cause of action arose in Nevada and the driver of the other car involved in the accident was a resident of that state); Nevader v. Deyo, 111 A.D.2d 548, 489 N.Y.S.2d 420 (App. Div. 1985) (same accident as in Blais except that plaintiffs were New York residents; motion to dismiss on forum non conveniens grounds denied even though site of the accident was Quebec and other cars involved in the accident were in Quebec). Second, despite defendants' contentions, the Reaches are not in the same position as the plaintiffs in Blais. The Blais plaintiffs were Quebec residents, not United States citizens. As the Supreme Court noted in Piper, "because the central purpose of any forum non conveniens inquiry is to ensure that the trial is convenient, a foreign plaintiff's choice deserves less deference." 454 U.S. at 256. Plaintiffs in the instant case are not foreign; rather, they are New Jersey residents. The traffic in the Holland and Lincoln tunnels notwithstanding, we do not consider New York an inconvenient forum for New Jersey plaintiffs.
For the reasons stated above, defendants' motions to dismiss are denied. Within twenty days of the date of this Opinion, the parties are to inform the Court of the date by which discovery will be completed, a joint pretrial order prepared, and the case ready for trial.
Dated: August 5, 1994
New York, New York
Leonard B. Sand