What do chicken legs have to do with forum non conveniens? Not much, except that they led me to learn that Delaware forum non conveniens rules appear to be fundamentally different from our own. The case of Certain Underwriters at Lloyds … v. Tyson, 2008 WL 660485 (Del. Super. March 7, 2008) dealt with the defendant insured’s motion to dismiss or stay the plaintiff underwriter’s Delaware declaratory action to deny coverage, as its own claim for coverage was proceeding in Mississippi. The main subject matter of the claim was “damages totaling $113,529,815 [arising out of hurricane Katrina] … allegedly lost in the global chicken leg quarter markets [and] … property loss or damage to hatcheries, equipment, and disposal of dead chickens.”
Tyson’s motion was based on two forum non conveniens arguments: (1) Delaware action should be stayed because both actions were contemporaneously filed and thus the plaintiff cannot rely on the first to file rule; and (2) if Delaware action was filed first, then it should be dismissed or stayed as imposing an “undue hardship” on Tyson. The court dismissed both arguments, finding that the Delaware action was filed first and that forum non conveniens factors favoured the plaintiff.