SCOTUS To Hear Case Regarding Forum Shopping
In a moment that took me back to my first year at McGeorge School of Law, and my civil procedure professor’s (Micheal Vitello) use of a little tikes type shopping cart to help us visualize forum shopping, SCOTUS is set to hear a case (Atlantic Marine Constr. Co. v J-Crew Management Inc.) regarding forum selection clauses in business contracts.
As it stands there is an apparent split in how the Circuit Courts view Forum selection clauses. A 1988 decision (Stewart Organization v. Ricoh Corp) held that Federal Law governs a motion to change venue and that a contact terms cannot trump Federal Law.
Conversely, the majority view is that forum-selection clauses should be enforced unless they are unreasonable or the product of overreaching. The Ninth Circuit (which includes Arizona) follows this majority view as stated in the Supreme Court’s 1972 opinion in M/S Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore Co.