Quartey does not fall within this exception. Quartey's repeated appearances throughout the United States--including his lucrative appearance in New Jersey--demonstrate that the prospect of traveling long distances frequently to this country is not "gravely difficult." See Burger King at 478; see also Cert. of Daniel Sweetser, Ex. A-B; Supplementary Cert. of Daniel Sweetser, Ex. B. While possibly somewhat inconvenient for Quartey, traveling to New Jersey is not such an intrusion on fair play and substantial justice so as to excuse Quartey from answering his obligations in New Jersey.
Defendant contends that the exercise of jurisdiction is unfair because a number of prospective witnesses reside in other countries. The cost of transporting these witnesses to New Jersey will be high, defendant argues, and counsels against the exercise of jurisdiction. (See Aff. of Ike Quartey.) In light of all facts before the court, this argument fails. First, by entering New Jersey and purposefully availing himself of the benefits of conducting business here, the defendant is charged with foreseeing the possibility of litigation here. See World-Wide, 444 U.S. at 297-98. This includes the presentation of witnesses. Defendant cannot complain when the foreseeable possibility of litigation becomes a reality. Second, while the wealth of the defendant alone cannot support the assertion of jurisdiction, see Burger King, 471 U.S. at 483 n.25, when the disparity of wealth between the two parties is so great that the defendant will be "judgment proof" were the court to deny jurisdiction, the court may constitutionally exercise jurisdiction. McGee, 355 U.S. at 223; see also Burger King, 471 U.S. at 483 n.25. In this case, it contradicts fairness to label as "burdensome" Quartey's litigation expenses when Quartey has retained at least $ 1.5 million which the plaintiff alleges belong to him. (See Cert. of Frederick Burke, Ex. A-B; Supplementary Cert. of Daniel Sweetser, Ex. B.) Indeed, if the plaintiff has no financial resources to travel to Ghana, this defendant will become judgment-proof. This is the exact result which McGee urges the court to prevent. See McGee, 355 U.S. at 223.
Finally, the court must also consider the plaintiff's interest in obtaining convenient and effective relief. Burger King, 471 U.S. at 477. In doing so, the court may "establish the reasonableness of jurisdiction upon a lesser showing of minimum contacts than would otherwise be required." Id. In this case, the plaintiff not only has established minimum contacts, but also has demonstrated a need for convenient and effective relief. In light of the defendant's apparent financial ability to answer suit in this state; his demonstrated ability to travel frequently in general and to travel to New Jersey in particular; his purposeful availment of the benefit of doing business in New Jersey; and his possession of all the proceeds of his alleged contract with Burke, the court concludes that considerations of fair play and substantial justice do not weigh against the assertion of jurisdiction over Quartey.
III. DISCUSSION: FORUM NON CONVENIENS
In the alternative, the defendant moves for dismissal under the doctrine of forum non conveniens. That doctrine permits the court to dismiss an action when an adequate alternative forum exists and when litigation in the chosen forum will cause "oppression and vexation to the defendant out of all proportion to the plaintiff's convenience." Piper Aircraft Co. v. Reyno, 454 U.S. 235, 255, 70 L. Ed. 2d 419, 102 S. Ct. 252 (1981). The doctrine "must be sparingly applied, inasmuch as its application results in the dismissal of an action over which the court has jurisdiction and ordinarily would have a duty to resolve." American Cyanamid Co. v. Picaso-Anstalt, 741 F. Supp. 1150 (D.N.J. 1990) (citing Gulf Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 508, 91 L. Ed. 1055, 67 S. Ct. 839 (1947)). Substantial weight and deference is given to the plaintiff's choice of forum. See Gulf Oil, 330 U.S. at 508.
Where, as here, the plaintiff--a citizen of Maryland--is "foreign" to this forum, his choice may deserve less deference "because it may be less reasonable to assume that a venue which is not the plaintiff's home forum is convenient." Lony v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 935 F.2d 604, 609 (3d Cir. 1991) (Lony II) (citations omitted). The reluctance to assume that the foreign plaintiff chose the forum in the interest of convenience, however, "can readily be overcome by a strong showing of convenience." Lacey v. Cessna Aircraft Co., 932 F.2d 170, 179 (3d Cir. 1991) (Lacey II). In the context of an international dispute, an American citizen does not have an absolute right to maintain an action in this country; however, "his election of [an appropriate U.S. forum] should not be disregarded in the absence of persuasive evidence that the retention of jurisdiction will result in manifest injustice to the defendant." Hoffman v. Goberman, 420 F.2d 423, 428 (3d Cir. 1970); American Cyanamid, 741 F. Supp. at 1155. Thus, even where the court affords less deference to the "foreign" plaintiff's choice of forum, it remains the defendant's burden to show by a strong preponderance the convenience of the alternative forum. Mediterranean Golf, Inc. v. Hirsh, 783 F. Supp. 835, 842 (D.N.J. 1991).
The defendant argues that the presumption in favor of plaintiff's choice of forum does not apply to Burke because Burke is not litigating in his home forum. Thus, Quartey contends, New Jersey has no vested interest in the plaintiff as there is no relationship between the forum and the litigation. This argument fails for two reasons. First, it is reasonable to assume that this forum is convenient for the plaintiff in light of the regional proximity between his home state, Maryland, and New Jersey. See Gear v. Constantinescu, 741 F. Supp. 525, 527 (D.N.J. 1990) (using geographical proximity between fora to measure convenience in forum non conveniens analysis). Therefore, it is also unreasonable to conclude that the plaintiff chose this forum to vex, harass, or oppress the defendant. See Gulf Oil, 330 U.S. at 508. Second, New Jersey has a clear interest in hearing this claim, as explained supra with respect to minimum contacts, despite that plaintiff is not a New Jersey resident. Thus, plaintiff's choice of forum deserves deference and weighs significantly against dismissal.
With this backdrop, the court considers the defendant's forum non conveniens argument. In so doing, the court notes that a forum non conveniens analysis contains two steps: first, the court determines whether a adequate alternative forum exists; second, the court balances the public and private interest factors which weigh for and against each forum. See Lacey II, 932 F.2d at 170. Private interest factors include
a) relative ease of access to sources of proof
b) availability of compulsory process for attendance of unwilling witnesses