The Louisiana Supreme Court has held that forum selection clauses in contracts are enforceable and do not necessarily violate public policy. Shelter Mutual Property Insurance Co. v. Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc. (La. July 1, 2014).
A contract for engineering and expert witness services provided a Texas forum selection clause. Litigation over a dispute under the contract was filed in Louisiana, and the engineering firm sought unsuccessfully to remove the litigation to Texas based on the clause. The trial court and court of appeal refused to permit transfer based on an article in the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure that states: “an objection to the venue may not be waived prior to the initiation of the action.”
The Louisiana Supreme Court reversed in a 4-3 decision, concluding that the article does not apply to the circumstances before it and that the application of the article by the lower courts was an improper expansion of it. The Supreme Court went on to say that forum selection clauses should be enforced unless the requesting party can show enforcement would be unreasonable and unjust and the subject of fraud or overreaching.