Choice of law: procedure and substance

Royal Park Invs. SA/NV v Morgan Stanley, 2018 NY Slip Op 06695 [1st Dept. 2018]

“[C]ourts will generally enforce choice-of-law clauses” (Ministers & Missionaries Benefit Bd. v Snow, 26 NY3d 466, 470 [2015]). However, “when parties include a choice-of-law provision in a contract, they intend application of only that state’s substantive law” (Id. at 474 [internal quotation marks omitted]). In other words, “[c]hoice of law provisions typically apply to only substantive issues” (Portfolio Recovery Assoc., LLC v King, 14 NY3d 410, 416 [2010]).

Unlike substantive law, “matters of procedure are governed by the law of the forum state” (FIA Leveraged Fund Ltd. v Grant Thornton LLP, 150 AD3d 492, 496 [1st Dept 2017]). The question of whether a plaintiff has standing “is a procedural matter” (O’Neill v Warburg, Pincus & Co., 39 AD3d 3d 281 [1st Dept 2007]; see also Mertz v Mertz, 271 NY 466, 473 [1936] [“The law of the forum determines … the capacity of parties to sue or to be sued”]).

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