The case of Butler v. Stagecoach Group, PLC, 2010 N.Y. Slip Op. 03615 (4th Dept. April 30, 2010) involves a collision in Upstate New York, between a chartered bus transporting a young woman’s hockey team from Ontario, Canada and a tractor-trailer parked on the side of the road. This case involves 12 consolidated appeals concerning four separate but related actions seeking damages for injuries and/or wrongful death resulting from this collision.
As part of the appeal, plaintiffs contend that the court erred in determining that the law of Ontario, Canada concerning noneconomic damages be applied. However, the Appellate Division concluded that the court did not abuse its discretion in applying Ontario law regarding noneconomic damages. The court went on to state that the measure of damages is an issue of substantive law, therefore a conflict of laws analysis was required to determine whether New York or Ontario law applied. The Court used the Neumeir rule to resolve the choice of law issue and ultimately determined that although the parties were domiciled in different Countries, the application of Ontario law did not violate the public policy of New York.