First Federal court stated that "the specific aspect of the litigation upon which the choice of law analysis must focus on this motion is not the underlying tortious conduct . . . but rather the actual trial and settlement of the . . . action." 631 F. Supp. at 1033. Accordingly, the Court ruled that the New York applied because: the original action "was tried and settled in New York;" "the settlement was negotiated between the parties and formalized on the record in New York;" and two defendants were citizens of New York. 631 F. Supp. at 1033. Although the plaintiffs were domiciled in other states and the alleged tortious acts were committed in California, the Court stated that plaintiffs could offer "no explanation of the interests their domiciles or California might have in encouraging settlement or equitably apportioning post-settlement liability." 631 F. Supp. at 1033.
I agree with the First Federal Court that analysis under § 145 must focus on the states' respective interests in the cases' trial and settlement, not simply on the locus delicti. But unlike New York in First Federal, Pennsylvania is not the residence of most of the parties, nor was it the site for most of the settlement negotiations.
Under First Federal, Pennsylvania's only significant interest in the settlement bar issue is that this Court is the forum for the litigation.
Moreover, Pennsylvania's interest as forum is less substantial than that of New York in First Federal. While the First Federal action was tried and settled in New York, the present action was consolidated in this District only for "centralized pretrial proceedings."
Docket No. 655 Transfer Order, Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, December 10, 1985. This Court will be the forum for all future pretrial proceedings and for trial of the actions filed in Pennsylvania, but the actions filed in Florida presumably will be tried there. Thus, Florida shares Pennsylvania's interest in the settlement bar issue as the eventual forum of litigation.
During oral argument, the non-settling parties argued that Pennsylvania has a greater interest than Florida in settlement of these actions because pretrial proceedings will consume much more of the Court's time and energy than will the trial itself. But it is neither prudent nor necessary to estimate how much time pretrial proceedings and the trial will consume to determine which state will be more affected by the choice of bar rule here. Florida's interests as site of the injury and alleged conduct, residence of several parties, and locus of the parties' relationship, as well as its interest as forum for trial of the actions originally filed in Florida, clearly outweigh Pennsylvania's interests in those actions.
For the actions originally filed in Pennsylvania, the difference is not so extreme, but Florida's interests are still more substantial. Pennsylvania's interest in this issue is solely procedural, while Florida's interests go to the heart of the controversy that the proposed agreement would settle. In addition, Restatement (Second) of Conflicts of Laws § 6(2),
lists general factors to be considered in conflicts of laws decisions, including promotion of "certainty, predictability and uniformity of result." See Stallworth, 515 So. 2d at 417-418, n.4. Adoption of the Florida rule in the actions filed in Pennsylvania would produce a uniform rule for all of the state claims, regardless of where they were filed.
Under these circumstances, Florida's pro tanto rule should govern settlement of the state law claims filed in Pennsylvania.
In conclusion, federal law mandates proportional reduction of the non-settling defendants' liability under the federal claims, and Florida law requires a pro tanto rule for the state law claims. The proposed settlement agreement is conditioned upon pro tanto reduction of liability for all claims, and therefore cannot be approved. The settling parties' motion for preliminary approval of the proposed settlement and certification of a settlement class will be denied.
AND NOW, this 28th day of October, 1988, upon consideration of the joint motion of Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, class plaintiffs, and Blank, Rome, Comisky & McCauley for preliminary approval of a proposed partial settlement and certification of a settlement class, and of the parties' memoranda regarding the proposed bar order, it is hereby ORDERED that said motion is DENIED for the reasons stated in the accompanying memorandum.