interest in other types of damages limitations runs completely against the grain of applicable California choice of law authority. Defendants have provided no authority for their proposition that a jurisdiction's interest in a limitation on punitives is in limiting residents plaintiffs' recovery rather than, as held by the majority of California courts, in protecting its resident defendants from excessive damages.
For all of the foregoing reasons, the court finds that the Netherlands has no interest in having its damages limitation rules applied in this action.
B. California's Interest
When different claims implicate different interests on the part of a jurisdiction, separate applications of the governmental interests analysis are required. McGhee, 871 F.2d at 1422 (citing Beech Aircraft Corp., 61 Cal. App. 3d at 518).
Defendants' argument that California has no interest in applying its liberal damages rules in this action is only correct as to the claims based entirely on acts which occurred in the Netherlands. California has a deterrent interest in applying its liberal recovery rules to its own resident defendants, but this interest extends only to tortious conduct which occurs within California's borders. Hurtado, 11 Cal. 3d 583 at 583-84 ; Reich, 67 Cal. App. 2d at 556; Hernandez, 102 Cal. App. 3d 800 at 800-01 (citing Howe v. Diversified Builders, Inc., 262 Cal. App. 2d 741, 745-46, 69 Cal. Rptr. 56 (1968)). The acts giving rise to the assault and battery and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims all occurred in the Netherlands. Thus, with respect those claims, the court finds that California has no cognizable interest.
However, as to the negligent hiring claim, the court finds that California has a deterrence interest in applying its damages rules to the extent that any relevant hiring was done in California. The complaint does not specifically allege the place or places where the negligent hiring took place. However, at oral argument, defendants conceded that at least some, if not all, of the employees who took part in the incidents giving rise to this action were hired by defendants in California. Thus, if defendants were negligent in hiring those individuals, application of California's liberal recovery principles might well serve to deter any such negligence by defendants and others in the future. See Hurtado, 11 Cal. 3d 583 at 583-84 .
III. California Damages Law Applies
Having determined that the Netherlands has no interest in the application of its damages law with respect to the negligent hiring claim and that California has such an interest, the court concludes that California damages law applies. Because at least some relevant hiring was done in California, this claim presents a "false conflict" situation. Only California has an interest in the application of its law, the Netherlands has no interest and, therefore, California law should apply. See Hurtado, 11 Cal. 3d at 580. As to the other claims, for the reasons explained above, they present an "unprovided for" scenario and California law applies as a matter of convenience. See Smith, supra, 38 Hastings L.J. at 1047; Kay, The Use of Comparative Impairment . . . , 68 Cal. L. Rev. at 611-12. Because at most only California has an interest in having its damages law applied in this action, the court need not reach the third, "comparative impairment", step of California's choice of law analysis.
The fact that California has a cognizable interest in applying its damages principles as to only one of the claims in the complaint does not preclude this court from applying the same damages principles with respect to the other causes of action in the complaint. This is true for two reasons.
First, it would be highly anomalous if defendants were held subject to full recovery under California law for injuries caused by their negligence (the negligent hiring), but not for their intentional acts (the assault and battery and the intentional infliction of emotional distress).
More importantly, although California has no interest in the application of its damages rules as to the three claims based completely on conduct that allegedly occurred in the Netherlands,
under governmental interests analysis, California damages rules still apply to those claims. The reason is that the Netherlands also has absolutely no interest in having its damages rules applied. In light of California's strong presumption in favor of applying its own law, see Hurtado, 11 Cal. 3d at 581, California rules apply.
The burden is on the proponent of a foreign law to show that the foreign jurisdiction's interest in having its law apply is greater than California's interest in the application of its law. McGhee, 871 F.2d at 1422. "California will decline to apply its own law to a case brought in California only if it is shown that another state has a greater interest . . . ." In re Aircrash in Bali, 684 F.2d at 1307. Obviously, if neither jurisdiction has any interest in the application of its law, the interests are equal and California law applies.
For the foregoing reasons, the court concludes that California's damages principles govern any recovery that plaintiffs may obtain in this action.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: October 26, 1992
MARILYN HALL PATEL
United States District Judge