Forum Selection Clauses

Parsing Invalidating Statutes (Part I)

In previous posts, I have written about how the precise language used in a choice-of-law or forum selection clause can prove consequential in litigation. In this post, I argue that the precise language used in state statutes purporting to invalidate these clauses can likewise have an outsized effect. There are hundreds of state statutes that…

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Financial Hardship and Forum Selection Clauses

The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that a forum selection clause should not be enforced when “trial in the contractual forum will be so gravely difficult and inconvenient” that the plaintiff “will for all practical purposes be deprived of his day in court.” The financial status of the plaintiff is obviously a factor that…

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Binding Non-Signatories to Service-of-Process Clauses

I have previously blogged about attempts to bind non-signatories to choice-of-law clauses and forum selection clauses via the closely-related-and-foreseeable doctrine. My general take is that while it is sometimes appropriate to rely on this doctrine in cases involving forum selection clauses, it is never appropriate to rely on it to bind a non-signatory to a…

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Suing Atlantis

The Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas (“Atlantis”) is, by most accounts, a nice place to visit. There are water slides and pools, beaches and private cabanas. There is a casino and a spa and a nightclub and a comedy club. Over the past two decades, tens of thousands of American tourists have traveled to Atlantis….

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Inconvenience, Forum Selection Clauses, and Afghanistan

The U.S. Supreme Court has long held that a forum selection clause should not be enforced when “trial in the contractual forum will be so gravely difficult and inconvenient” that the plaintiff “will for all practical purposes be deprived of his day in court.” In announcing this rule, the Court recognized that a legal right…

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Microsoft’s Dispute Resolution Provisions Are a Mess

The Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft”) and its foreign subsidiaries buy goods and services from companies all around the world. To streamline the contracting process, Microsoft has drafted a purchase order that contains standard terms and conditions. This purchase order – viewable here – is used by Microsoft and its subsidiaries in 109 different countries. This agreement…

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Are State Courts Biased Against Foreign Forum Selection Clauses? A Look at the Data.

In a prior post, I discussed some data on the practice of state and federal courts in the United States relating to the enforcement of forum selection clauses. This dataset also provides a useful opportunity to determine whether state courts are more likely to enforce a clause selecting another U.S. court than they are to…

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Data on the Enforcement of Forum Selection Clauses

The United States legal system is immensely complex. There are state courts and federal courts, state statutes and federal statutes, state common law and federal common law. When I imagine a foreign lawyer trying to explain this system to a foreign client, my heart fills with pity. This feeling of pity is compounded when I…

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Microsoft and Contractual Ambiguity

Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) has a market capitalization of $2.14 trillion. It reported $204 billion in revenue in 2022. Its legal team is reportedly comprised of 1,500 people worldwide. Microsoft is the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in contract negotiations. A recent case suggests, however, that Microsoft has yet to master the art of drafting a forum selection…

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Forum Selection Clauses, Non-Signatories, and Personal Jurisdiction in New York

As a general rule, the law will not vest contractual rights in (or impose contractual obligations upon) individuals who are not parties to an agreement. Over the past few decades, however, the courts have had occasion to relax this rule in the context of forum selection clauses. As previously discussed here and here and at…

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