An Act To Protect Rights and Privileges Granted under the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Maine
Sec. 1. 14 MRSA c. 14 is enacted to read:
APPLICATION OF FOREIGN LAW
§ 351. Findings
While the Legislature fully recognizes the right to contract freely under the laws of this State, it also recognizes that this right may be reasonably and rationally circumscribed pursuant to the State's interest to protect and promote rights and privileges granted under the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Maine.
§ 352. Foreign law, legal code or legal system defined
As used in this chapter, "foreign law, legal code or legal system" means any law, legal code or legal system of a jurisdiction outside of any state or territory of the United States, including, but not limited to, international organizations and tribunals, that is applied by that jurisdiction's courts, administrative bodies or other formal or informal tribunals.
§ 353. Comity to foreign decision
The primary factor that a court, administrative agency, arbitrator, mediator or other entity or person acting under the authority of state law must consider in granting comity to a decision rendered under a foreign law, legal code or legal system against a natural person in this State is whether the decision rendered either violated or would violate any right of the natural person in this State guaranteed by the Constitution of Maine or the United States Constitution or any statute or decision under those constitutions.
§ 354. Choice of law
§ 355. Choice of venue or forum
§ 356. Application
This bill is based on Tennessee Public Acts, 2010, Public Chapter Number 983. The bill addresses the application of foreign law in this State.
The bill provides that the factor in considering whether to grant comity to a decision rendered under any foreign law, legal code or legal system against a natural person in this State is whether the constitutional rights under the United States Constitution and the Constitution of Maine of the person would be protected. Similarly, if a contract or other agreement provides for the choice of a foreign law, legal code or legal system, the primary factor in the interpretation, enforcement or application of the agreement is the preservation of the constitutional rights of the natural person in this State. The right of a natural person to voluntarily restrict or limit that person's own constitutional rights consistent with constitutional principles is not limited by the bill; however, a contract or specific waiver restricting or limiting rights must be strictly construed in favor of preserving the constitutional rights of the natural person.
The bill provides that the primary factor to be considered in interpreting or construing a choice of venue or forum provision is whether it can be interpreted or construed to preserve the constitutional rights of the natural person in this State against whom enforcement is sought. A claim for forum non conveniens or a related claim must be denied if the court determines that granting the claim violates or would likely violate the constitutional rights of the nonclaimant in the foreign forum with respect to the matter in dispute.
The bill does not apply to a corporation, partnership or other legal business entity.
The bill applies only to actual or to foreseeable violations of the constitutional rights of a natural person in this State from a foreign law, legal code or legal system.