201 Conn. 632 (1986) | Cited 89 times | Supreme Court of Connecticut | December 23, 1986

The sole issue on this appeal is whether,under the circumstances of this case, an injuredperson may pursue a cause of action under Connecticutlaw to recover for allegedly tortious conduct thatoccurred in a jurisdiction where such a cause of actionwould not be permitted. The plaintiff, Roseann O'Connor,brought an action against the defendant, Brian O'Connor,seeking damages for injuries that she suffered asa result of an automobile accident in Quebec.1The trial court, Reilly, J., granted the defendant'smotion to strike the complaint, finding that the law of

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     Quebec, the place of injury, governed the controversyand that Quebec law precluded the plaintiff's action.Thereafter, the court, S. Freedman, J., rendered ajudgment in favor of the defendant. The plaintiffappealed to the Appellate Court, which, in a per curiamopinion, upheld the trial court's judgment. We reversethe judgment of the Appellate Court.

The relevant facts are undisputed. The plaintiff wasinjured as a result of a one car automobile accident thatoccurred on September 3, 1981, in the province of Quebec,Canada. At the time of the accident, the defendantwas operating the automobile and the plaintiff washis sole passenger. The parties, both of whom wereConnecticut domiciliaries, were on a one day pleasuretrip that began, and was intended to end, in Vermont.The plaintiff underwent hospital treatment for her injuriesin Quebec and has suffered continuing physical disabilitieswhile residing in Connecticut.

The plaintiff brought an action against the defendanton August 17, 1983, alleging that she had sufferedserious and permanent injuries as a result of the defendant'snegligent operation of the automobile. The plaintiff'scomplaint stated a cause of action permitted by GeneralStatutes 38-323,2 part of Connecticut's No-fault

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     Motor Vehicle Insurance Act, General Statutes38-319 through 38-350. Section 38-323 permits thevictim of serious physical or economic injury caused byan automobile accident to sue the tortfeasor for damages.The defendant, however, moved to strike the complaint,on the ground that the applicable law in the casewas the law of Quebec. Quebec law would not permitthe plaintiff's tort action because Quebec Revised Statutes,chapter A-25, title II, 3 and 4, provides insteadfor government funded compensation for victims ofbodily injury caused by automobile accidents.3

After a hearing, the trial court, Reilly, J., grantedthe motion to strike in an oral decision. The courtexpressly based its decision on this court's opinion inGibson v. Fullin, 172 Conn. 407, 374 A.2d 1061 (1977),our most recent decision affirming the doctrine that

[201 Conn. 636]

     the nature and extent of tort liability is governed bythe place of injury, hereinafter referred to as "lex locidelicti" or "lex loci." When judgment was subsequentlyrendered in favor of the defendant, the plaintiffappealed to the Appellate Court, which, like the trialcourt, considered itself bound by this court's past adherenceto the lex loci doctrine. Accordingly, the AppellateCourt, in a per curiam opinion, affirmed the judgmentof the trial court. O'Connor v. O'Connor, 4 Conn. App. 19,20, 492 A.2d 207, cert. granted, 196 Conn. 812,495 A.2d 280 (1985).

On appeal to this court, the plaintiff argues that thetrial court erred in granting the defendant's motion tostrike. Recognizing that the trial court and the AppellateCourt accurately applied the rules governing conflictof laws that our Connecticut cases have previouslyarticulated, the plaintiff urges this court to reexaminethe propriety of our continued adherence to the doctrineof lex loci delicti in cases of personal injury. Inthe particular circumstances of this case, the plaintiffmaintains, we should no longer adhere rigidly to thedoctrine of lex loci but should instead seek to discernand to apply the law of the jurisdiction that has the mostsignificant relationship to the controversy, in accordancewith the principles of the Restatement Second of Conflictof Laws. Under the Restatement, according to the plaintiff,the jurisdiction that has the most significant relationshipto this tort action is not Quebec but Connecticut. Quebec,although it was the place of injury, has no significantinterest in applying its statutory compensation schemeto the controversy because the location of the automobileaccident in Quebec was purely fortuitous. Connecticut,by contrast, has a substantial interest in applying itslaw to the case because: (1) both parties are domiciledand employed in Connecticut; (2) both parties are subjectto the requirements and entitled to the benefits of Connecticut's

[201 Conn. 637]

     no-fault insurance law, and that law embodies a policy ofproviding access to the courts> for persons with serious bodilyinjuries; and (3) aside from her initial treatment afterthe accident, the plaintiff has received all of her post-accidentmedical care in Connecticut. We agree with the plaintiff.


This court has traditionally adhered to the doctrinethat the substantive rights and obligations arising outof a tort controversy are determined by the law of theplace of injury, or lex loci delicti. Gibson v. Fullin,supra, 411; Menczer v. Menczer, 160 Conn. 563, 564-65,280 A.2d 875 (1971); Landers v. Landers, 153 Conn. 303,304, 216 A.2d 183 (1966); Orr v. Ahern, 107 Conn. 174,176, 139 A. 691 (1928). Recently, however, wehave recognized that there are circumstances in whichstrict application of the lex loci delicti rule frustratesthe legitimate expectations of the parties and underminesan important policy of this state. In such circumstances,we have refused to apply the doctrine. Simaitisv. Flood, 182 Conn. 24, 437 A.2d 828 (1980).

Simaitis was a plaintiff's appeal of an adversesummary judgment in a negligence action arising out ofan automobile accident that occurred in Tennessee. Theparties were Connecticut domiciliaries employed by aConnecticut corporation. The accident occurred whilethey were traveling in the course of their employment.The dispositive issue on appeal was whether the governinglaw was the workers' compensation act of Tennessee,which barred the plaintiff's action for damages,or the Connecticut act, which permitted such an action.We held that application of the lex loci rule in thesecircumstances afforded an "unsatisfactory resolution"to the choice of law problem; id., 29; noting that toemploy the rule "would bestow upon temporary visitorsinjured in Connecticut all the relief which the Connecticut

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     compensation act affords, but deny that same reliefto Connecticut residents injured while on temporarybusiness outside the state, even when all otherincidents of employment . . . are in Connecticut." Id.,29-30. Although we expressly declined to reconsiderthe rule of lex loci for tort law in general, we decidedthat it was appropriate to pursue an alternate approachfor choice of law issues in workers' compensation cases.The alternate approach that we adopted looked to anexamination of the respective interests of the relevantjurisdictions in applying their law to the controversy,and turned for guidance to the principles of 181 ofthe Restatement Second of Conflict of Laws. Simaitisv. Flood, supra, 32-33. Applying the principles of theRestatement, we held that the law of Connecticut, andnot that of Tennessee, should govern the plaintiff'sright to recover. Id., 34.

Our decision in Simaitis has rightly been interpretedas a signal that we are not wholeheartedly committedto application of lex loci as the sole approach to choiceof law in all torts cases. See R. Silver & S. Twardy,"The Connecticut Torts Conflict of Laws Rule: A Proposalfor Change," 57 Conn. B.J. 236, 237-38 (1983). Similarly,two federal district court cases have interpreted dictain Gibson v. Fullin, supra, as contemplating circumstancesin which Connecticut courts> might deviate from the lexloci doctrine provided a "compelling reason" exists todo so. Halstead v. United States, 535 F. Sup. 782, 788(D. Conn. 1982), aff'd sub nom. Saloomey v. Jeppesen &Co., 707 F.2d 671 (2d Cir. 1983); DeForneaux v. Sturm,Ruger & Co., 503 F. Sup. 2, 4 (D. Conn.), aff'd, 639 F.2d 768(2d Cir. 1980), cert. denied, 451 U.S. 908, 101S.Ct. 1975, 68 L.Ed.2d 295 (1981).4

[201 Conn. 639]


We have consistently held that "a court should notoverrule its earlier decisions unless the most cogentreasons and inescapable logic requires it." Herald PublishingCo. v. Bill, 142 Conn. 53, 62, 111 A.2d 4 (1955); seealso State v. Castonguay, 194 Conn. 416, 435,481 A.2d 56 (1984); Society for Savings v. Chestnut Estates,Inc., 176 Conn. 563, 570, 409 A.2d 1020 (1979). We havealso recognized, however, that "[p]rinciples of lawwhich serve one generation well may, by reason ofchanging conditions, disserve a later one," and that"[e]xperience can and often does demonstrate that arule, once believed sound, needs modification to servejustice better." Herald Publishing Co. v. Bill, supra.Accordingly, we now undertake to analyze the policiesand principles underlying the doctrine of lex loci delicti,as a preliminary step to determining whether "cogentreasons and inescapable logic" demand that we abandonthe doctrine under the circumstances of the presentcase.

The doctrine of lex loci delicti, as first adopted byAmerican courts> in the late nineteenth and early twentiethcenturies, presumes that the rights and obligationsof the parties to a tort action "vest" at the placeof injury. See 3 J. Beale, Conflict of Laws (1935)p. 1968. Justice Cardozo, describing the vested rightstheory in Loucks v. Standard Oil Co., 224 N.Y. 99, 110,120 N.E. 198 (1918), stated: "A foreign statute is notlaw in this state, but it gives rise to an obligation, which,if transitory, `follows the person and may be enforcedwherever the person may be found . . . . [I]t is a principleof every civilized law that vested rights shall be

[201 Conn. 640]

     protected' (Beale, [Conflict of Laws], 51)." In one ofthe earliest Connecticut decisions to recognize the lexloci doctrine, this court held: "The right of action forthe injury is inseparable from its extent, hence themeasure of damages as well as the right of recovery aredetermined by the place of the injury . . . . Such anobligation, or right of action, as a general rule, becomesvested, and will be enforced here precisely as if theobligation or right of action had accrued or arisen inthis jurisdiction." Commonwealth Fuel Co. v. McNeil,103 Conn. 390, 405-406, 130 A. 794 (1925). The vestedrights theory was a guiding principle of the firstRestatement of Conflict of Laws. See RestatementConflict of Laws (1934) 377 through 379.

The vested rights theory of choice of law is ananachronism in modern jurisprudence. Its underlyingpremise, that the legislative jurisdiction of the placewhere a right "vests" must be recognized in everyother jurisdiction, presupposes that a nationally uniformsystem of choice of law rules is necessary and desirable.See R. Leflar, American Conflicts Law (1968) pp. 205-206.Choice of law rules are not immutable principles, however.Subject to the limitations of the due process clauseof the fourteenth amendment5 and the full faith andcredit clause of article IV, 1, of the United Statesconstitution;6 see Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Shutts,472 U.S. 797, 814-23, 105 S.Ct. 2965, 86 L.Ed.2d 628 (1985);Allstate Ins. Co. v. Hague, 449 U.S. 302, 308-13, 101S.Ct. 633, 66 L.Ed.2d 521, reh. denied, 450 U.S. 971,

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     101 S.Ct. 1494, 67 L.Ed.2d 623 (1981); AlaskaPackers Assn. v. Industrial Accident Commission,294 U.S. 532, 541-42, 547, 55 S.Ct. 518, 79 L.Ed. 1044(1935); individual state courts> are free to formulatechoice of law rules as they deem appropriate. "[F]ora State's substantive law to be selected in a constitutionallypermissible manner, that State must have a significantcontact or significant aggregation of contacts, creatingstate interests, such that choice of its law is neitherarbitrary nor fundamentally unfair." Allstate Ins.Co. v. Hague, supra, 312-13; see generally J. Martin,"Personal Jurisdiction and Choice of Law," 78 Mich.L. Rev. 872, 874 (1980); R. Leflar, supra.

Stripped of the mantle of constitutional authority,the vested rights doctrine is simply another legaltheory, and one which has been the subject of extensivecriticism for the past half century. See W. Cook, "TheLogical and Legal Bases of the Conflict of Laws," 33Yale L.J. 457 (1924); E. Lorenzen, "Territoriality,Public Policy and the Conflict of Laws," 33 Yale L.J.736 (1924); H. Yntema, "The Hornbook Method andthe Conflict of Laws," 37 Yale L.J. 468 (1928). ProfessorDavid F. Cavers criticized the vested rights doctrineas ignoring the substantive content of legal rulesand focusing exclusively on territorial concerns, "thelaw's content being irrelevant to the choice" of law.D. Cavers, Re-Stating the Conflict of Laws: The Chapteron Contracts, in XXth Century Comparative and ConflictsLaw (1961) pp. 349, 350. Another, more fundamentalcriticism of the vested rights theory of conflictsof law is that it fails to explain "why the law ofthe place of wrong should be applied to cases whichhave arisen there. [It gives] us a guiding principlebut without any raison d'etre." M. Hancock, Torts inthe Conflict of Laws (1942) p. 36.

The theoretical barrenness of the vested rights doctrine,from which the rule of lex loci delicti derives, is but

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     one of the many reasons that a majority of statecourts> have rejected the rule of lex loci,7and that legal scholars have virtually unanimouslyurged its abandonment.8 "The basic theme runningthrough the attacks on the place of injury rule isthat wooden application of a few overly simplerules, based on the outmoded `vested rights theory,'cannot solve the complex problems which arise inmodern litigation and may often yield harsh, unnecessaryand unjust results." Griffith v. United Air Lines,Inc., 416 Pa. 1, 13, 203 A.2d 796 (1964). The lexloci approach fails to acknowledge that jurisdictionsother than the place of injury may have a legitimateinterest in applying their laws to resolve particularissues arising out of a tort controversy. See, e.g.,Babcock v. Jackson, 12 N.Y.2d 473, 478,191 N.E.2d 279, 240 N.Y.S.2d 743 (1963); Griffith v. United AirLines, Inc., supra; see also Simaitis v. Flood,supra, 29-30.

[201 Conn. 643]

Having noted the perceived weaknesses of a categoricallex loci delicti rule, we now consider the principalreasons advanced for its retention. These are: (1) thedesirability of allowing the legislature to alter establishedchoice of law doctrines; (2) stare decisis; (3) the certaintyand predictability of result afforded by a categoricalchoice of law rule and the concomitant ease of applyingsuch a rule; and (4) the prevention of parochial applicationsof forum law in controversies involving foreignjurisdictions. See generally Friday v. Smoot,58 Del. 488, 211 A.2d 594 (1965); McDaniel v. Sinn,194 Kan. 625, 400 P.2d 1018 (1965); White v. King,244 Md. 348, 223 A.2d 763 (1966); see also comment, "Selectionof Law Governing Measure of Damages for WrongfulDeath," 61 Colum. L. Rev. 1497, 1509-10 (1961).We will examine each of these rationales in turnas they relate to the circumstances of the presentcase.

Because choice of law is a matter of "broad publicpolicy," the defendant argues that it is the provinceof the legislature, and not the courts>, to make doctrinalchanges in established law. Some of the courts> thathave chosen to adhere to the lex loci doctrine haveexpressed similar sentiments. See Friday v. Smoot,supra, 493; White v. King, supra, 355. We disagree.The lex loci doctrine is the creation of jurists andscholars, not legislators. See generally M. Hancock, supra,pp. 30-36 (1942); 3 J. Beale, Conflict of Laws (1935)p. 1968; see also Gutierrez v. Collins, 583 S.W.2d 312,315 (Tex. 1979). Statutes deal expressly with choice oflaw issues only rarely and episodically. See R. Traynor,"Is This Conflict Really Necessary?" 37 Tex. L.Rev. 655, 673 (1959). The defendant's reliance, in thisregard, on General Statutes 52-572d9 is misplaced.

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     That statute abolishes the rule of lex loci delicti inactions for injuries caused by motor vehicle accidentsoccurring in jurisdictions which recognize interspousalimmunity. The fact that, in 52-572d, the legislatureoverruled a line of our decisions holding that theavailability of the interspousal immunity defense dependson the law of the place of injury; see, e.g., Landers v.Landers, 153 Conn. 303, 304, 216 A.2d 183 (1966); hardlyadvances the defendant's argument that the legislaturehas implicitly approved of the lex loci doctrine. Thelegislature of course retains plenary authority, subjectto constitutional mandates, to formulate statutorychoice of law rules. Until the legislature choosesto act, however, this court has an independent responsibilityto modernize rules of law that have traditionally reposedwith the judiciary.

Regarding stare decisis, the second argument infavor of retaining lex loci, we have already noted that,while courts> should not overrule established precedentexcept in compelling circumstances, the force of precedentwill not hinder our rejection of a rule whose applicationno longer serves the ends of justice. Herald PublishingCo. v. Bill, 142 Conn. 53, 62, 111 A.2d 4 (1955). Thearguments for adherence to precedent are least compelling,furthermore, "when the rule to be discarded may notbe reasonably supposed to have determined the conductof the litigants, and particularly when in its originit was the product of institutions or conditions whichhave gained a new significance or development withthe progress of the years." Hopson v. St. Mary'sHospital, 176 Conn. 485, 496 n. 5,408 A.2d 260 (1979), quoting B. Cardozo, The Nature of

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     the Judicial Process (1901) p. 151. In the present case,as in most unintentional tort cases, there is no reasonto suppose that the defendant planned his conduct withthe intention of availing himself of the benefits of Quebeclaw. "Rarely do parties contemplate the consequencesof tortious conduct, and rarely if at all will theygive thought to the question of what law would beapplied to govern their conduct if it were to result inInjury." W. Reese, "Conflict of Laws and the RestatementSecond," 28 Law & Contemp. Prob. 679, 699 (1963);accord Giffith v. United Air Lines, Inc., supra,23-24; Wilcox v. Wilcox, 26 Wis.2d 617, 622,133 N.W.2d 408 (1965); R. Sedler, "The GovernmentalInterest Approach to Choice of Law: An Analysis anda Reformulation," 25 U.C.L.A. L. Rev. 181, 230 (1977).Our refusal to adhere to lex loci delicti in this case,therefore, does not defeat any legitimate prelitigationexpectations of the parties founded in reliance on ourprior decisions. See Hopson v. St. Mary's Hospital,supra, 495-96.

The third argument in favor of retention of the doctrineof lex loci is that it imparts certainty, predictability,and ease of application to choice of law rules. Wedo not underestimate these characteristics. "Simplicityin law is a virtue. Judicial efficiency often dependsupon it." R. Leflar, "Choice-Influencing Considerationsin Conflicts Law," 41 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 267, 288 (1966).The virtue of simplicity must, however, be balancedagainst the vice of arbitrary and inflexible applicationof a rigid rule. "Ease of determining applicable lawand uniformity of rules of decision . . . must besubordinated to the objective of proper choice of lawin conflict cases, i.e.,to determine the law that mostappropriately applies to the issue involved . . . ."(Citations omitted.) Reich v. Purcell, 67 Cal.2d 551,555, 432 P.2d 727, 63 Cal.Rptr. 31 (1967). In thepresent case, application of the lex loci delicti doctrine

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     makes determination of the governing law turn upona purely fortuitous circumstance: the geographical locationof the parties' automobile at the time the accidentoccurred. Choice of law must not be rendered a matterof happenstance, in which the respective interestsof the parties and the concerned jurisdictions receiveonly coincidental consideration. Numerous jurisdictionshave declined to apply the law of the place of injuryin similar circumstances. See Fabricius v. Horgen,257 Iowa 268, 132 N.W.2d 410 (1965); Thomas v. Hanmer,109 App. Div.2d 80, 489 N.Y.S.2d 802 (1985); Wilcoxv. Wilcox, supra. Applying the same rationale, theUnited States District Court for the District of Connecticuthas refused to adhere to the lex loci doctrine in acase where the plaintiffs, Connecticut residents, werekilled in an airplane crash in West Virginia. "In theabsence of any meaningful contact between the litigationand the state of West Virginia other than, by purefortuity, the site of the crash, it would be offensiveto traditional notions of justice and normal expectationsto apply West Virginia law to adjudicate plaintiffs'wrongful death claims." Halstead v. United States,535 F. Sup. 782 (D. Conn. 1982), aff'd sub nom. Saloomeyv. Jeppesen & Co., 707 F.2d 671 (2d Cir. 1983).

We note, furthermore, that lex loci's arguable advantagesof uniformity and predictability have been underminedby its widespread rejection by courts> and scholars,and by judicial constructions that avoid its strictapplication. Lex loci "no longer affords even asemblance of the general application that was oncethought to be its great virtue." Reich v. Purcell, supra,555. Even when it was the dominant American choiceof law rule, courts> frequently took advantage of various"escape devices" that allowed them to pay lip serviceto lex loci while avoiding its strict application.

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     B. Currie, "Notes on Methods and Objectives in theConflict of Laws," 1959 Duke L.J. 171, 175-78. Suchdevices included characterizing the issue at stake asprocedural, rather than substantive, so that the law ofthe forum could be applied; see Grant v. McAuliffe,41 Cal.2d 859, 866, 264 P.2d 944 (1953); Hilberg v. NortheastAirlines, 9 N.Y.2d 34, 41-42, 172 N.E.2d 526,211 N.Y.S.2d 133 (1961); or characterizing a complaintframed in tort as a contract matter, thus allowing thelaw governing the place of contracting, rather than theplace of injury, to control. See Levy v. Daniels' U-DriveAuto Renting Co., 108 Conn. 333, 337-38, 143 A. 163(1928); see also Simaitis v. Flood, supra, 34. Becausethe use of such evasive devices undermines the predictabilityand ease of application of the lex loci doctrine, theiruse has been widely disparaged by scholarly commentators."[I]t is a poor defense of the system to say thatthe unacceptable results which [lex loci] will inevitablyproduce can be averted by disingenuousness if thecourts> are sufficiently alert." B. Currie, supra, 176.

We now consider the fourth principal argument infavor of retention of lex loci, that application of thedoctrine prevents forum courts> from exercising parochialfavoritism. Without lex loci, there is a risk that theforum will not take seriously the foreign jurisdiction'slegitimate interest in the controversy. See generallycomment, "Selection of Law Governing Measure ofDamages for Wrongful Death," supra, 1509. How seriouslythis risk is viewed depends upon an assessment ofthe available alternatives. "The alternative to a hardand fast system of doctrinal formulae is not anarchy.The difference is not between a system and no system,but between two systems; between a system which purportsto have, but lacks, complete logical symmetry and onewhich affords latitude for the interplay and clash ofconflicting factors." F. Harper, "Policy Bases of the

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     Conflict of Laws: Reflections on Rereading ProfessorLorenzen's Essays," 56 Yale L.J. 1155, 1157-58 (1947).Existing case law in other jurisdictions demonstratesthat conflicts principles need not depend solely uponlex loci to assure proper deference to the legitimateclaims of foreign law. A principled search for the locallaw of the state with the most significant relationshipto the occurrence and the parties will often cause foreignlaw to be recognized as the law that should governthe controversy. See, e.g., Neumeier v. Huehner,31 N.Y.2d 121, 125-30, 286 N.E.2d 454, 335 N.Y.S.2d 64(1972); Dym v. Gordon, 16 N.Y.2d 120, 125-28,209 N.E.2d 792, 262 N.Y.S.2d 463 (1965); Casey v. MansonConstruction & Engineering Co., 247 Or. 274, 288-93,428 P.2d 898 (1967). "There is no reason why a judge]should be less dispassionate in a conflicts case thanin any other." R. Traynor, supra, 675.

We are, therefore, persuaded that the time has comefor the law in this state to abandon categorical allegianceto the doctrine of lex loci delicti in tort actions.Lex loci has lost its theoretical underpinnings. Itsformerly broad base of support has suffered erosion. Weneed not decide today, however, whether to discard lexloci in all of its manifestations. It is sufficient for usto consider whether, in the circumstances of the presentcase, reason and justice require the relaxation of itsstringent insistence on determining conflicts of lawssolely by reference to the place where a tort occurred.

In deciding how to assess a replacement for lex loci,we recognize that the legal literature offers us variousalternative approaches to the problems of choice oflaw. Three such approaches have gained widespread judicialacceptance: (1) the choice of law rules promulgatedin the Restatement Second of Conflict of Laws;(2) the "governmental interest" approach developed

[201 Conn. 649]

     by Professor Brainerd Currie;10 and (3) ProfessorRobert A. Leflar's theory of choice of law, in which theapplicable law in multi-jurisdictional controversies isdetermined by reference to five "choice-influencingconsiderations."11 The Restatement Second approach,the product of more than a decade of research, incorporatessome of the attributes of the latter two approaches, aswell as others, in an attempt to "provide formulationsthat were true to the cases, were broad enough to permitfurther development in the law, and yet were ableto give some guidance by pointing to what was thoughtwould probably be the result reached in the majorityof cases." W. Reese, "The Second Restatement of Conflictof Laws Revisited," 34 Mercer L. Rev. 501, 519 (1983).A majority of the courts> that have abandoned lex locihave adopted the principles of the Restatement Secondas representing the most comprehensive and equitablybalanced approach to conflict of laws.12 It is

[201 Conn. 650]

     therefore our conclusion that we too should incorporatethe guidelines of the Restatement as the governingprinciples for those cases in which application ofthe doctrine of lex loci would produce an arbitrary,irrational result.


We turn now to an examination of the relevantprovisions of the Restatement Second of Conflictof Laws in the context of the dispute presentlybefore us. We note that the defendant, if hecannot persuade us to retain the doctrine oflex loci in its entirety, argues, in the alternative,that application of the principles of the Restatementwould likewise require deference to the law ofQuebec in the circumstances of this case. Carefulanalysis of the relevant Restatement provisionspersuades us of the merits of the opposite conclusion.

Section 145 of the Restatement Second provides insubsection (1) that "[t]he rights and liabilities of theparties with respect to an issue are determined by thelocal law of the state which, with respect to that issue,has the most significant relationship to the occurrenceand the parties under the principles stated in 6." Section

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     6 of the Restatement, in turn, provides: "(1) Acourt, subject to Constitutional restrictions, will followa statutory directive of its own state on choice of law.(2) When there is no such directive, the factors relevantto the choice of the applicable rule of law include (a)the needs of the interstate and international systems,(b) the relevant policies of the forum, (c) the relevantpolicies of other interested states and the relativeinterests of those states in the determination of theparticular issue, (d) the protections of justifiedexpectations,(e) the basic policies underlying theparticular field of law, (f) certainty, predictabilityand uniformity of result, and (g) ease in the determinationand application of the law to be applied."

Applying the choice of law analysis of 145 and 6 tothe facts of this case involves a weighing of therelative significance of the various factors that 6lists. Of greatest importance for present purposes arethe choices of policy emphasized in 6(2)(b), (c) and (e).We are not today concerned with a case that offendssystemic policy concerns of another state or country,nor do the facts warrant an inference of justifiedexpectations concerning the applicability of anythingother than the law of the forum.13 Although theprinciples of certainty and ease of application mustbe taken into account, the Restatement cautionsagainst attaching independent weight to these auxiliaryfactors, noting that they are ancillary to the goalof providing rational, fair choice of law rules. Ascomment i to 6 states: "In a rapidly developing area,such as choice of law, it is often more importantthat good rules be developed than that predictabilityand uniformity of result should be assured throughcontinued adherence to existing rules." See alsoRestatement (Second), Conflict of Laws 6, comment j(policy in 6 [2] [g] should "not be overemphasized,

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     since it is obviously of greater importance thatchoice-of-law rules lead to desirable results").

For assistance in our evaluation of the policy choicesset out in 145(1) and 6(2), we turn next to 145(2)of the Restatement, which establishes black-letter rulesof priority to facilitate the application of the principlesof 6 to tort cases. See H. Kay, "Theory into Practice:Choice of Law in the Courts>," 34 Mercer L. Rev. 521,555 (1983). Section 145(2) provides: "Contacts tobe taken into account in applying the principles of 6to determine the law applicable to an issue include: (a)the place where the injury occurred, (b) the place wherethe conduct causing the injury occurred, (c) the domicil,residence, nationality, place of incorporation and placeof business of the parties, and (d) the place where therelationship, if any, between the parties is centered.These contacts are to be evaluated according to theirrelative importance with respect to the particular issue.

In the circumstances of the present case, because theplaintiff was injured in Quebec and the tortious conductoccurred there, 145(2)(a) and (b) weigh in favorof applying Quebec law.14 Because both parties areConnecticut domiciliaries and their relationship is centeredhere, 145(2)(c) and (d) indicate that Connecticut lawshould be applied. To resolve this potential standoff,we need to recall that it is the significance, and notthe number, of 145(2) contacts that determines theout come of the choice of law inquiry under the Restatement

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     approach. As the concluding sentence of 145(2) states,"[t]hese contacts are to be evaluated according totheir relative importance with respect to the particularissue." See also Schwartz v. Schwartz, 103 Ariz. 562,565, 447 P.2d 254 (1968); Baffin Land Corporation v.Monticello Motor Inn, Inc., 70 Wn.2d 893, 900,425 P.2d 623 (1967).

In order to apply the 6 guidelines to thecircumstances of the present case, we must, therefore,turn our attention once more to the particular issuewhose disparate resolution by two relevant jurisdictionsgives rise to the conflict of laws. Specifically, wemust analyze the respective policies and interestsof Quebec, the place of injury, and Connecticut, theforum state, with respect to the issue of whether theplaintiff should be allowed to recover damages fromthe defendant in a private cause of action premisedon the defendant's negligent operation of anautomobile. In the process of that analysis, wemust evaluate the relevance of each jurisdiction's145(2) contacts to this particular controversy.

We first consider the policies and interests ofQuebec in this regard. Quebec, as the place of injury,has an obvious interest in applying its standardsof conduct to govern the liability, both civil andcriminal, of persons who use its highways. See Hauchv. Connor, 295 Md. 120, 124, 453 A.2d 1207 (1983);Fox v. Morrison Motor Freight, Inc., 25 Ohio St.2d 193,198, 267 N.E.2d 405 (1971); Tower v. Schwabe,284 Or. 105, 107, 585 P.2d 662 (1978). "This interestarises from the right and duty of the sovereign toprotect those within its borders from injury toperson or property . . . ." Comment, "Selection ofLaw Governing Measure of Damages for WrongfulDeath," 61 Colum. L. Rev. 1497, 1510 (1961). Ifthe issue at stake in the present controversy werewhether the defendant's conduct was negligent,we might well conclude that Quebec's interest

[201 Conn. 654]

     in applying its law was of paramount significance.See Fox v. Morrison Motor Freight, Inc., supra; Wilcoxv. Wilcox, 26 Wis.2d 617, 631, 133 N.W.2d 408 (1965).

In the present case, however, the relevant Quebeclaw expresses no interest in regulating the conduct ofthe defendant, but rather limits the liability exposureto which his conduct subjects him. Quebec's AutomobileInsurance Act, Quebec Revised Statutes, chapterA-25, presumably embodies policies similar to that ofour own no-fault automobile insurance act: assuranceto automobile accident victims of access to expeditiousand adequate financial compensation, and assuranceto automobile owners of access to insurance at reasonablepremiums. Compare General Statutes 38-319 etseq.; Gentile v. Altermatt, 169 Conn. 267, 289-94, 304,363 A.2d 1 (1975), cert. denied, 423 U.S. 1041, 96 S.Ct.763, 46 L.Ed.2d 631 (1976); see also Thomas v.Hanmer, 109 App. Div.2d 80, 84, 489 N.Y.S.2d 802(1985) (identifying same purposes in evaluating Quebecno-fault act with reference to New York no-faultstatute). Quebec, however, has chosen to implementthis policy, in title II, 4, with a provision which,like our workers' compensation act; General Statutes31-275 et seq.; eschews investigation into the possiblenegligence of the defendant's conduct and limits theamount of damages the victim of the defendant's conductmay recover.15 In Reich v. Purcell, 67 Cal.2d 551,

[201 Conn. 655]

     556, 432 P.2d 727, 63 Cal.Rptr. 31 (1967), ChiefJustice Traynor, speaking with regard to statutorylimitations on wrongful death damages, noted: "Limitationsof damages . . . have little or nothing to do withconduct. They are concerned not with how people shouldbehave but with how survivors should be compensated.The state of the place of the wrong has little or nointerest in such compensation when none of theparties reside there."

The policies behind Quebec's no-fault rule would notbe substantially furthered by application of Quebec lawin the circumstances of the present case. In this case,neither the victim nor the tortfeasor is a Quebec resident.There is no evidence on the record that the vehicleinvolved in the accident was insured or registeredin Quebec. Cf. Peters v. Peters, 63 Haw. 653, 666,634 P.2d 586 (1981) (fact that rental automobile insured inplace of injury gave place of injury interest in applyingits law). Rather, the record indicates that the partieswere merely "passing through" the province, andthat the location of the accident was fortuitous. Clearlythe goal of reducing insurance premiums in Quebec isnot furthered by application of the Quebec no-fault actto an accident involving only nonresidents of Quebec,in an automobile that was not insured in the province.Quebec's interest in alleviating the administrative andjudicial costs of automobile accident litigation is in noway implicated when, as in this case, a nonresidentbrings suit against another nonresident in a foreignjurisdiction. We note that a Quebec resident suing thedefendant in Connecticut would not be subject to theQuebec act's lawsuit prohibition; under the Quebec act,such a plaintiff would be entitled to statutorycompensation under Quebec law as well as any damagesrecoverable in a private action under Connecticut law.

[201 Conn. 656]

     Quebec Revised Statutes, chapter A-25, title II, 716Application of Quebec law in these circumstances wouldthus produce the same anomalous result that we deploredin Simaitis v. Flood, 182 Conn. 24, 29-30,437 A.2d 828 (1980), since it would "bestow upon temporaryvisitors injured in Connecticut all the relief which[Connecticut law] affords, but deny that same reliefto Connecticut residents" injured in Quebec. Id.17

The foregoing analysis leads us to conclude that Quebec'sstatus as the place of injury is not a significantcontact for purposes of our choice of law injury in thiscase. Accordingly, since Quebec has no other contactswith this litigation, we hold that Quebec has no interestin applying its no-fault act to bar the plaintiff'saction.

In order to justify the application of Connecticutlaw to the issue at stake, however, we must considerwhether Connecticut's contacts with the litigation giveit a legitimate interest in applying its law to thecontroversy. We are persuaded that Connecticut does havethe requisite significant contacts.18

[201 Conn. 657]

Connecticut has a significant interest in thislitigation because both the plaintiff and the defendantare, and were at the time of the accident, Connecticutdomiciliaries. Consequently, to the extent that theymight have anticipated being involved in an automobileaccident, they could reasonably have expected to besubject to the provisions of Connecticut's no-faultact. More importantly, however, Connecticut has astrong interest in assuring that the plaintiff mayavail herself of the full scope of remedies for tortiousconduct that Connecticut law affords. See Mitchell v. Craft,211 So.2d 509, 514 (Miss. 1968); Thomas v. Hanmer,supra, 84. Connecticut's no-fault act serves similarpurposes to Quebec's Automobile Insurance Act; Gentilev. Altermatt, supra; with one important exception:unlike the Quebec act, the Connecticut act embracesthe policy of "providing the more seriously injuredthe opportunity to seek true redress" in a judicialforum. Gentile v. Altermatt, supra, 297. To deny theplaintiff a cause of action in this case would frustratethis important purpose of the Connecticut no-faultstatute. This is particularly true when, as in thiscase, the alleged consequences of the plaintiff's injury,including medical expenses and lost income, havebeen borne in Connecticut.

Our conclusion that we should look to the law ofConnecticut rather than to the law of Quebec in thiscase should not be construed as a blanket endorsementof reliance on Connecticut law in all circumstances. We

[201 Conn. 658]

     are persuaded that, in this case, justice and reason pointto Connecticut as the jurisdiction whose laws bear themost significant relationship to the controversy at hand.We are reassured that courts> in other jurisdictions,relying on the Restatement Second of Conflict of Laws,have equally concluded that they should disregard thelaw of a foreign jurisdiction that has at best a fortuitousand incidental relationship to the controversy tobe adjudicated. See Schwartz v. Schwartz, supra; FirstNational Bank v. Rostek, 182 Colo. 437, 514 P.2d 314(1973); Ingersoll v. Klein, 46 Ill.2d 42, 262 N.E.2d 593(1970); Fabricius v. Horgen, 257 Iowa 268,132 N.W.2d 410 (1965); Mitchell v. Craft, supra; Kennedy v. Dixon,439 S.W.2d 173 (Mo. 1969); Gutierrez v. Collins,583 S.W.2d 312 (Tex. 1979). We can readily conceive ofcircumstances, however, in which the choice between therelevant jurisdictions would be much more problematic.For example, Quebec law would have been entitled togreater weight if the accident had involved a Quebecresident; see, e.g., Dym v. Gordon, 16 N.Y.2d 120, 125,209 N.E.2d 792, 262 N.Y.S.2d 463 (1965); or a uniqueconfiguration of Quebec roads; see, e.g., Casey v. MansonConstruction & Engineering Co., 247 Or. 274, 288,428 P.2d 898 (1967); or if the defendant's negligent conduct,rather than the plaintiff's right to sue, had beenat issue. The guiding principles of the Restatementcommand respect precisely because they encourage asearching case-by-case contextual inquiry into thesignificance of the interests that the law of competingjurisdictions may assert in particular controversies.

We therefore reverse the judgment of the AppellateCourt upholding the trial court's granting of the motionto strike the plaintiff's complaint, and direct that thiscase be remanded to the trial court for further proceedingsconsistent with this opinion.

In this opinion the other justices concurred.

1. The parties were not related at the time of the accident. Theysubsequently married each other.

2. "[General Statutes] Sec. 38-323. CAUSE OF ACTION ALLOWABLE, WHEN.(a) No cause of action to recover economic loss or noneconomic detrimentbased on negligence arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use ofa private passenger motor vehicle may be maintained against an owner,registrant, operator or occupant of a private passenger motor vehicle withrespect to which security has been provided as required by this chapter,or against any person or organization legally responsible for his acts oromissions, unless the injured party has sustained (1) death, (2) permanentinjury, (3) fracture of any bone, (4) permanent significant disfigurement,(5) permanent loss of any bodily function, (6) loss of a body member or (7)allowable expense as defined in section 38-319 in excess of four hundreddollars. Any person who receives free medical, hospitalization and surgicalcare shall be deemed to meet the requirements of subdivision (7) if thereasonable value of such care exceeds four hundred dollars. "(b) The exemption under subsection (a) of a person from liability to paydamages for injury applies only with respect to injury to (1) owners ofprivate passenger motor vehicles with respect to which security is requiredunder this chapter, (2) persons entitled to basic reparations benefits fromany such owner or his insurer or through the assigned claims plan, and(3) persons who would be entitled to such benefits but for section 38-331or 38-332."

3. Quebec Revised Statutes, chapter A-25, title II, provides inrelevant part: "3. The victim of bodily injury caused by an automobileshall be compensated by the Regie in accordance with this title, regardlessof who is at fault. "4. The indemnities provided for in this title are in the place and steadof all rights, recourses and rights of action of any one by reason of bodilyinjury caused by an automobile and no action in that respect shall beadmitted before any court of justice. "Subject to section 18, where bodily injury was caused by an automobile,the pecuniary compensations or benefits provided for the compensationof such injury by the Workmen's Compensation Act (chapter A-3) orby the Crime victims Compensation Act (chapter I-6) are in the place andstead of all rights, recourses and rights of action of any one by reason ofsuch bodily injury and no action in that respect shall be admitted beforeany court of justice. "The preceding provisions of this section do not apply to the casescontemplated in section 17. "Nothing in this section limits the right of a victim to claim anindemnity under a private insurance scheme, regardless of who is at fault."

4. The relevant dicta in Gibson v. Fullin, 172 Conn. 407, 411,374 A.2d 1061 (1977), notes that "there has been some tendency recently todepart" from lex loci delicti in modern jurisprudence, citing, among othersources, the Restatement Second of Conflict of Laws. The opinion continues:"Under this newer approach, the developing rule is still very much in atransitional stage, and the present case presents no compelling reason toabandon the traditional rule." (Emphasis added.) Gibson v. Fullin, supra.

5. Section 1 of the fourteenth amendment to the United Statesconstitution provides in relevant part: "No State shall . . . deprive anyperson of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor denyto any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

6. The United States constitution, article IV, 1, provides: "FullFaith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records,and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may bygeneral Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records andProceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof."

7. Thirty-one states have rejected the lex loci doctrine in favorof policy-based approaches to choice of law. Only sixteen states,including Connecticut, continue to adhere to the doctrine. H. Kay, "Theoryinto Practice: Choice of Law in the ," 34 Mercer L. Rev. 521, 582(1983). For a still current listing showing each state's preferred choiceof law approach (excluding those which have not manifested such anapproach), see id., 591-92.

8. For a sampling of the scholarly criticism, see, e.g., D. Cavers,"A Critique of the Choice-of-Law Problem," 47 Harv. L. Rev. 173 (1933); E.Cheatham, "American Theories of Conflict of Laws: Their Role and Utility,"58 Harv. L. Rev. 361 (1945); E. Cheatham & W. Reese, "Choice of theApplicable Law," 52 Colum. L. Rev. 959 (1952); W. Cook, "Tort Liabilityand the Conflict of Laws," 35 Colum. L. Rev. 202 (1935); B. Currie,"Conflict, Crisis and Confusion in New York," 1963 Duke L.J. 1; A.Ehrenzweig, "The Lex Fori-Basic Rule in the Conflict of Laws," 58 Mich. L.Rev. 637 (1960); F. Harper, "Policy Bases of the Conflict of Laws:Reflections on Rereading Professor Lorenzen's Essays," 56 Yale L.J. 1155(1947); R. Leflar, "Choice-Influencing Considerations in Conflicts Law,"41 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 267 (1966); E. Lorenzen, "Territoriality, Public Policyand the Conflict of Laws," 33 Yale L.J. 736 (1924); W. Reese, "Choice ofLaw: Rules or Approach," 57 Cornell L. Rev. 315 (1972); M. Rheinstein, "ThePlace of Wrong: A Study in the Method of Case Law," 19 Tul. L. Rev. 4(1944); G. Stemberg, "`The Place of the Wrong' Torts and the Conflict ofLaws," 34 Wn. L. Rev. 388 (1959); R. Traynor, "Is This Conflict ReallyNecessary?" 37 Tex. L. Rev. 655 (1959); H. Yntema, "The Hornbook Method andthe Conflict of Laws," 37 Yale L.J. 468 (1928).

9. "[General Statutes] Sec. 52-572d. INTERSPOUSAL IMMUNITYABROGATED IN MOTOR VEHICLE NEGLIGENCE ACTIONS ACCRUING OUT OF STATE. In allactions brought by one resident spouse against the other resident spousefor negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle resulting in personalinjury, wrongful death or injury to property, it shall not be a defense ora bar to the cause of action that such an action by one spouse againstanother would not lie in the state where the injury or death occurred. Therights of such spouses, including the standard of care to be applied in suchaction, shall be determined as if the injury or death had occurred in thisstate."

10. The governmental interest approach prefers application of thelaw of the forum unless the forum state has no legitimate governmentalinterest in applying its law to the controversy. Determining the presenceof a governmental interest requires an analysis of the policies underlyingthe applicable rules of decision, and an appraisal of the need forfurtherance of those policies by application of forum law to the issue atstake. Only if the forum state is determined to have no interest inapplying its law to the issue, and a foreign jurisdiction, by contrast, isdetermined to have an interest, need the court apply foreign law. If onlyone state has an interest in applying its law to the issue, a "falseconflict" exists and the court should apply the law of the onlyinterested state. See B. Currie, "Conflict, Crisis and Confusion in NewYork," 1963 Duke L.J. 1, 38-44; B. Currie, "Notes on Methods and Objectivesin the Conflict of Laws," 1959 Duke L.J. 171, 178.

11. Leflar lists his choice-influencing considerations as follows:"A. Predictability of results; B. Maintenance of interstate andinternational order; C. Simplification of the judicial task; D. Advancementof the forum's governmental interests; E. Application of the better rule oflaw." R. Leflar, "Choice-Influencing Considerations in Conflicts of Law," 41N YU. L. Rev. 267 (1966). With the exception of consideration E, therelevant factors in Leflar's methodology are similar to those employed inthe Restatement Second of Conflicts of Laws; see part III of thisopinion, infra.

12. Fourteen states have expressly adopted the Restatement Secondapproach. See Schwartz v. Schwartz, 103 Ariz. 562, 447 P.2d 254 (1968);First National Bank v. Rostek, 182 Colo. 437, 514 P.2d 314 (1973); Bishopv. Florida Specialty Paint Co., 389 So.2d 999 (Fla. 1980); Rungee v. AlliedVan Lines, Inc., 92 Idaho 718, 449 P.2d 378 (1968); Ingersoll v. Klein,46 Ill.2d 42, 262 N.E.2d 593 (1970); Fabricius v. Horgen, 257 Iowa 268,132 N.W.2d 410 (1965); Adams v. Buffalo Forge Co., 443 A.2d 932 (Me. 1982);Mitchell v. Craft, 211 So.2d 509 (Miss. 1968); Kennedy v. Dixon,439 S.W.2d 173 (Mo. 1969); Brickner v. Gooden, 525 P.2d 632 (Okla. 1974);Casey v. Manson Construction & Engineering Co., 247 Or. 274, 428 P.2d 898(1967); Gutierrez v. Collins, 583 S.W.2d 312 (Tex. 1979); Pioneer CreditCorporation v. Carden, 127 vt. 229, 245 A.2d 891 (1968); Baffin LandCorporation v. Monticello Motor Inn, Inc., 70 Wn.2d 893,425 P.2d 623 (1967). In addition, the New York approach to choice of law, which evaluatesand balances the contacts of jurisdictions involved in a choice of lawcontroversy in order to apply the law of the jurisdiction that is the"center of gravity" of the controversy; see Babcock v. Jackson,12 N.Y.2d 473,479, 191 N.E.2d 279, 240 N.Y.S.2d 743 (1963); is commonly viewed ashaving merged with the Restatement Second approach. H. Kay, "Theory intoPractice: Choice of Law in the

13. See part II of this opinion, supra, for our discussion of theirrelevance of predictability concerns in the circumstances of this case.

14. See also 1 Restatement (Second), Conflict of Laws 146, whichprovides: "PERSONAL INJURIES "In an action for a personal injury, the local law of the state wherethe injury occurred determines the rights and liabilities of the parties,unless, with respect to the particular issue, some other state has amore significant relationship under the principles stated in 6 to theoccurrence and the parties, in which event the local law of the otherstate will be applied."

15. We note additionally that the Quebec act does not express apolicy of immunizing tortfeasors from the consequences of their actions.Quebec Revised Statutes, chapter A-25, title II, 7, provides in relevantpart: "Notwithstanding section 4, the Regie, where it compensates a victimunder this section, is subrogated in the victim's rights and is entitled torecover the compensation and the capital representing the pensions that theRegie is thereby required to pay from any person not resident in Quebecwho, under the law of the place where the accident occurred, is responsible,and from any person liable for compensation for bodily injury caused inthe accident by such non-resident. The subrogation is effected of right bythe decision of the Regie to compensate the victim."

16. Quebec Revised Statutes, chapter A-25, title II, 7, provides inrelevant part: "The victim of an accident that occurred outside Quebec whois entitled to the compensation provided for in this title may benefit byit while retaining his rights of action with regard to the excess under thelaw of the place where the accident occurred."

17. It is also significant for purposes of this analysis thatQuebec provides only a limited right of recovery for nonresidents injured inautomobile accidents within its territorial boundaries. Such nonresidentsare entitled to compensation only to the extent that they are notresponsible for the accident, "unless otherwise agreed between the R'egieand the competent authorities of the place of residence of such victim."Quebec Revised Statutes, chapter A-25, title II, 8.

18. Notwithstanding our conclusion that Connecticut is the onlyjurisdiction with a significant interest in applying its law to the presentcontroversy, we decline to adopt the plaintiff's characterization of thiscase as a false conflict." The plaintiff's interpretation of a falseconflict, as one where the laws of two jurisdictions with contacts to thelitigation differ, but only one has an interest in applying its law to thecontroversy, is commonly associated with the Currie governmental interestanalysis approach to choice of law. See footnote 10, supra; see also R.Traynor, "Is This Conflict Really Necessary?" 37 Tex. L. Rev. 655 (1959).We note, however, that other commentators have declined to characterizesuch a situation as a false conflict, but rather have reserved that term todescribe cases where application of the laws of two or more jurisdictionswith contacts to the litigation reach identical results, thus eliminatingany potential conflict of laws. See R. LeFlar, American Conflicts Law(1968) pp. 237-38; see generally A. Ehrenzweig, "A Counter-Revolution inConflicts Law? From Beale to Cavers," 80 Harv. L. Rev. 377 (1966).Page 659

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