Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiffs sued Defendant in California for negligence after they suffered injuries in a car accident in Arizona. Defendant filed a motion to abate, arguing that Arizona law should be applied and the case dismissed because Arizona law does not recognize survival causes of action.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
California’s choice of law doctrine applies the law of the place where the injury occurred to substantive matters, but applies the law of California to procedural matters.
A foreign sovereign under civilized law imposes an obligation of its own as nearly homologous as possible to that arising in the place where the tort occurs.View Full Point of Law
W. R. Grant, R. M. Manchester, and D. O. Jensen (Plaintiffs) were driving west on the highway in Arizona when they collided with W. W. Pullen. Plaintiffs all sustained injuries and Pullen died. All were residents of California. Plaintiffs sued McAuliffe (Defendant), Pullen’s administrator, in California for Pullen’s negligent driving, seeking to recover damages for their injuries. Defendant filed a motion to abate, arguing that the survival cause of action is a substantive matter governed by Arizona law, which does not recognize survival causes of actions.
For purposes of choice of law, is a survival cause of action substantive?
No, the survival cause of action is procedural. The trial court’s decision is reversed and remanded.
The Court concluded that survival causes of action are procedural and not substantive because the survival statute is not an essential part of the negligence claim. Unlike wrongful death statutes, survival statutes do not create a new cause of action for the injured party and do not determine liability.