In commercial contracts, forum-selection clauses have become ubiquitous. Those clauses, after all, bring certainty.
When litigation actually ensues, however, a party might regret agreeing to the forum in the clause. Imagine if that litigant files suit in a different forum. Can the other party enforce the clause and move the case to the proper forum?
The U.S. Supreme Court finally settled that question, at least for federal purposes, in Atlantic Marine Construction Co., Inc. v. United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, 134 S. Ct. 568 (2013). The Supreme Court instructed lower courts to enforce the chosen forum “unless extraordinary circumstances unrelated to the convenience of the parties clearly disfavor a transaction.” 134 S. Ct. at 575.
Companies hoping to limit uncertainty in litigation now have a stronger friend in federal courts than ever before. Simply put, Atlantic Marine’s standard makes forum-selection clauses very difficult for a party to the contract to avoid. view more