Duquesne Law Review


Robert L. Felix


The recent case of Cipolla v. Shaposka offers a good opportunity for examining a conflict of themes in the choice-of-law process. Territorialism and the better rule of law are set in dramatic opposition in a case presenting a deployment of contacts not seen before in multi-state automobile accident cases. The law-fact pattern is simple but provocative: The passenger is from Pennsylvania where local law holds a driver accountable for ordinary negligence. The driver is from Delaware, the place of the accident, where a guest statute holds a driver liable to a gratuitous passenger only for gross negligence or worse. The purpose of the trip is to take the passenger from the defendant's home in Delaware to the home of the former in Pennsylvania. The car is garaged and insured in Delaware. The forum is Pennsylvania, the defendant having been served after entering the state to join the plaintiff for a game of golf.

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