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PERKINS v. MARRIOTT INT'L

October 30, 1996

THOMAS PERKINS and JOYCE PERKINS, Plaintiffs,
v.
MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC., a Delaware Corporation, Defendant.


JUNE L. GREEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREEN

I. Introduction

 This matter is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment of Defendant Marriott International, Inc., ("Marriott"). The Court grants summary judgment to Marriott, because Marriott has demonstrated that there is insufficient evidence to support the Plaintiffs' case.

 II. Facts

 In ruling on this Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court takes the facts in the light most favorable to the Plaintiffs. Choate v. TRW, Inc., 304 U.S. App. D.C. 312, 14 F.3d 74, 75 (D.C. Cir. 1994) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986).

 The Plaintiffs now sue the Defendants for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. They also have sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, claiming that their mistreatment was the product of racial discrimination.

 III. Discussion

 A. Jurisdiction and Choice-of-Law

 The Court has original jurisdiction over the section 1981 count pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and the common law tort counts under 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

 In considering the common law counts, the Court notes that the District of Columbia Circuit "has long 'held that the principles of Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 58 S. Ct. 817, 82 L. Ed. 1188 (1938), are to be followed analogously by federal courts adjudicating diversity actions in the District of Columbia.'" Nepera Chemical, Inc., v. Sea-Land Service, Inc., 253 U.S. App. D.C. 394, 794 F.2d 688, 695 (D.C. Cir. 1986). In determining which jurisdiction's law to apply to the two common law tort counts, the Court "must apply the choice-of-law rules of the District of Columbia." Poole v. Kelly, 293 U.S. App. D.C. 329, 954 F.2d 760, 763 (D.C. Cir. 1992) (quoting Steorts v. American Airlines, 207 U.S. App. D.C. 369, 647 F.2d 194, 196 (D.C. Cir. 1981) (footnotes omitted).

 For choice-of-law questions, the District of Columbia uses "the 'governmental interests' analysis, under which [the Court] evaluate[s] the governmental policies underlying the applicable laws and determine[s] which jurisdiction's policy would be more advanced by the application of its law to the facts of the case under review." District of Columbia v. Coleman, 667 A.2d 811, 816 (D.C. 1995) (citing Hercules & Co. v. Shama Restaurant, 566 A.2d 31, 40-41 (D.C. 1989).

 
As part of this analysis, [the Court must] also consider the four factors enumerated in the Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws § 145:
 
a) the place where the injury occurred;
 
b) the place where the conduct causing the injury occurred;
 
c) the domicile, residence, nationality, place of incorporation and place of business of the parties; and
 
d) the place where the relationship is centered.

 Id. (citing Estrada v. Potomac Elec. Power Co., 488 A.2d 1359, 1361 n.2 (D.C. 1985)).

 The Court applies the law of Maryland to the two common law counts. The injury occurred in Maryland, and was caused by conduct that occurred in Maryland. While Plaintiffs are residents of the District of Columbia, Marriott does business in Maryland. The relationship between the parties is centered in Maryland because Plaintiffs voluntarily traveled to Maryland to stay at the Marriott. Maryland's interest in preventing tortious acts against persons within its borders (whether residents or not) is stronger than any interest the District of Columbia might have in extra-territorial application of its law of torts.

 B. Summary Judgment Standard

 The non-moving party's "burden at the summary judgment stage is met if he [] establishe[s] that there is a genuine issue of material fact." Choate v. TRW, Inc., 14 F.3d at 76-77. The question is one of law. Id. The Court "must determine first whether the moving party discharged its duty by informing the . . . court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Id. (quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548, (1986)). The Court "must then determine whether the nonmoving party successfully established that there is such a genuine issue." Id. "Where, as ...


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