December 9, 2013

Many contracts today include “forum-selection clauses” which are intended to eliminate some of the uncertainty inherent in litigation by choosing at the outset where any disputes will be litigated. Last week, the United States Supreme Court in Atlantic Marine Construction Co. v. U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, No. 12-929 (U.S. Dec. 3, 2013), announced the appropriate method for enforcing forum-selection clauses in federal proceedings. The Court held that an action filed in disregard of a forum-selection clause must be transferred to the contractually selected location in all but the most unusual of cases. This signals the Court’s continued adherence to the view that forum-selection clauses are good for commerce. Atlantic Marine is a welcome addition to the law of federal procedure, and should promote predictability and certainty in the often complex world of interstate commerce.

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