JUSTICE MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case requires us to determine whether two types of orders by a district court are immediately appealable under
This case arises from a dispute over a loan. Petitioner, a real estate broker in Brussels, encouraged respondent, also a Brussels resident, to meet with one Alan Blair in the United States to discuss a real estate investment. Blair is a resident of Los Angeles. Following a business trip to Atlanta, respondent traveled to Los Angeles where he met petitioner, Blair, and others, to talk about the investment. Blair described a real estate partnership called Three B Investment Associates, which was renovating a townhouse complex outside Kansas City known as Concorde Bridge Townhouses. At petitioner's urging, respondent agreed to lend the partnership $1 million for three years at 20% per annum interest, secured by a mortgage on the Concorde Bridge complex. At the time, the partnership did not have title to the Concorde Bridge complex, but it held a contract to purchase the complex and had made a substantial deposit.
The partnership, after making some scheduled payments, eventually defaulted on its promissory note to respondent. The mortgage proved worthless because the partnership had not acquired title to the Concorde Bridge complex. Respondent retained American counsel, claiming that he had been misled into believing that the partnership held title to the Concorde Bridge Townhouses at the time of the loan. Soon thereafter, United States prosecutors became involved in the controversy. In October 1984, petitioner, Blair, and another American were indicted in the Central District of California on charges of wire fraud and causing the interstate transportation of a victim of fraud. The indictment charged that the three defendants had fraudulently induced respondent to lend them $1 million by falsely representing that they
While on a trip to Geneva, petitioner was arrested pursuant to a request from the United States Department of Justice under the applicable extradition treaty with Switzerland. See Treaty between the United States and Switzerland for the Extradition of Criminals, May 14, 1900, 31 Stat. 1928, T. S. No. 354 (1900). Petitioner was extradited and delivered to Los Angeles by United States Marshals after legal proceedings in Swiss courts. Following a jury trial, petitioner was found guilty on one count of wire fraud and one count of causing the interstate transportation of a victim of fraud. On January 22, 1986, petitioner was sentenced to a prison term of one year and one day, which was satisfied by the time he already had spent in pretrial confinement. The trial court also ordered petitioner to pay respondent restitution of $34,501.26 and placed him on probation. Petitioner was ordered not to leave the United States until the restitution order was satisfied.
On November 12, 1985, one week before petitioner's criminal trial commenced, respondent filed a civil suit against petitioner, Blair, and others in the District Court for the Central District of California. The complaint asserted a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) claim, a common-law claim of fraud, and other pendent state-law claims arising out of the defaulted loan. On February 5, 1986, about two weeks after his sentencing, petitioner was served with the summons and complaint as he was arriving at the office of his probation officer to keep a scheduled appointment. Petitioner moved to dismiss the suit on two separate grounds. First, he argued that because his presence in the
The courts of appeals have jurisdiction under 28 U. S. C. § 1291 of appeals "from all final decisions of the district courts . . . except where a direct review may be had in the Supreme Court." A party generally may not take an appeal under § 1291 until there has been a decision by the district court that "ends the litigation on the merits and leaves nothing for the court to do but execute the judgment."
As petitioner acknowledges, the order of the District Court denying petitioner's motion to dismiss on grounds of immunity from civil process or forum non conveniens did not end the litigation on the merits. Therefore, the order is appealable as to either ground only if the three requirements set out in Coopers & Lybrand are met.
In asserting the appealability of his claim of immunity from civil process, petitioner principally relies on this Court's decision in Mitchell v. Forsyth, supra. The Court held in Mitchell that the denial of a claim of qualified immunity by the Attorney General was immediately appealable under the
Petitioner argues that under United States v. Rauscher, 119 U.S. 407 (1886), as well as under federal extradition statutes and the extradition treaty between the United States and Switzerland, he is immune from civil service of process while his presence in the United States is compelled by extradition for criminal charges. Petitioner further contends that his immunity under Rauscher, like the immunity in Mitchell, entails the right not to stand trial, which cannot be effectively vindicated on appeal from final judgment. In Rauscher, the Court stated the general "principle of specialty" in federal extradition law:
Petitioner argues that the principle of specialty requires not merely that an extradited person be immune from criminal prosecutions other than the offenses for which he was extradited, but that he be generally "free from any judicial interference," including civil suit. Brief for Petitioner 18.
The critical question, following Mitchell, is whether "the essence" of the claimed right is a right not to stand trial. Mitchell, 472 U. S., at 525. This question is difficult because in some sense, all litigants who have a meritorious pretrial claim for dismissal can reasonably claim a right not to stand trial. But the final-judgment rule requires that except in certain narrow circumstances in which the right would be "irretrievably lost" absent an immediate appeal, Richardson-Merrell Inc. v. Koller, 472 U.S. 424, 431 (1985), litigants must abide by the district court's judgments, and suffer the concomitant burden of a trial, until the end of proceedings before gaining appellate review. As the Court stated in United States v. MacDonald, 435 U.S. 850, 860, n. 7 (1978):
Because of the important interests furthered by the final-judgment rule, see n. 3, supra, and the ease with which certain
We believe that even if the principle of specialty shields petitioner from service of process in a civil suit while he is detained in the United States following his extradition and conviction — an issue on which we express no opinion — the right not to be burdened with a civil trial itself is not an essential aspect of this protection. First, the principle of specialty fundamentally bears on treaty obligations between states; the principle operates to ensure that the receiving state does not abuse the extradition processes of the extraditing state. See Rauscher, supra, at 419-420; 1 M. Bassiouni, International Extradition: United States Law and Practice, ch. 7, § 7, pp. 360-361 (2d ed. 1987). The conduct of a civil trial, prior to any attempt to subject the defendant to a binding judgment of the court, does not significantly implicate the receiving state's obligation under the doctrine. Unlike a criminal prosecution, in which the coercive power of the state is immediately brought to bear, the state's involvement in the conduct of a private civil suit is minimal. The state's role is simply to provide a forum for the resolution of a private dispute. In the absence of an explicit agreement obligating the United States to protect the extradited person from the burdens of a civil suit, we believe that there is little potential that the extraditing state, in this case Switzerland, will view the mere conduct of a private civil trial as a breach of an obligation by the United States not to abuse the extradition process.
Given that the principle of specialty provides no independent support for petitioner's claim that he has a right not to stand trial, the question becomes whether such a right is entailed in the mere assertion that the district court lacks personal jurisdiction because of immunity from service of process. Cf. Rauscher, 119 U. S., at 433 ("[Court] did not have jurisdiction of the person at that time").
Petitioner also argues that the District Court's order denying the motion to dismiss on the ground of forum non conveniens falls within the collateral order doctrine of Cohen and thus is immediately appealable under § 1291. We conclude, however, as have the majority of the Courts of Appeals that have considered the issue,
The requirement that the order be completely separate from the merits is "a distillation of the principle that there should not be piecemeal review of `steps towards final judgment in which they will merge.' " Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital v. Mercury Construction Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 12, n. 13 (1983), quoting Cohen, 337 U. S., at 546. Allowing appeals
The Court in Gulf Oil stated that district courts must look into "the relative ease of access to sources of proof; availability of compulsory process for attendance of unwilling . . . witnesses; possibility of view of premises, if view would be appropriate to the action; and all other practical problems that make trial of a case easy, expeditious and inexpensive." Ibid. To examine "the relative ease of access to sources of proof," and the availability of witnesses, the district court must scrutinize the substance of the dispute between the parties to evaluate what proof is required, and determine whether the pieces of evidence cited by the parties are critical, or even relevant, to the plaintiff's cause of action and to any potential defenses to the action. Public interest factors relevant to a forum non conveniens determination — such as the "local interest in having localized controversies decided at home" and the interest in having "the trial of a diversity case in a forum that is at home with the state law that must govern the case," id., at 509 — also thrust the court into the merits of the underlying dispute. To evaluate these factors, the court must consider the locus of the alleged culpable conduct, often a disputed issue, and the connection of that conduct to the plaintiff's chosen forum. Cf. Piper Aircraft Co. v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 259-260 (1981).
This list of considerations to be balanced is by no means exhaustive, and some factors may not be relevant in the context
Our conclusion that the denial of a motion to dismiss on the ground of forum non conveniens is not appealable under § 1291 is fortified by the availability of interlocutory review pursuant to 28 U. S. C. § 1292(b). Under § 1292(b), a district
We hold that neither an order denying a motion to dismiss on grounds that an extradited person is immune from civil process, nor an order denying a motion to dismiss on the ground of forum non conveniens, is a collateral order subject to appeal as a final judgment under 28 U. S. C. § 1291. The Court of Appeals therefore lacked jurisdiction to consider petitioner's appeal. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.
It is so ordered.
"[The rule] emphasizes the deference that appellate courts owe to the trial judge as the individual initially called upon to decide the many questions of law and fact that occur in the course of trial. Permitting piecemeal appeals would undermine the independence of the district judge, as well as the special role that individual plays in our judicial system. In addition, the rule is in accordance with the sensible policy of `avoid[ing] the obstruction to just claims that would come from permitting the harassment and cost of a succession of separate appeals from the various rulings to which a litigation may give rise, from its initiation to entry of judgment.' " Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. v. Risjord, 449 U.S. 368, 374 (1981), quoting Cobbledick v. United States, 309 U.S. 323, 325 (1940).