It is not unusual for contracts to contain forum selection clauses, which are designed to control where a lawsuit about a contract can be filed. However, if and when litigation occurs, it is also not unusual for parties to contest the validity of a forum selection clause. The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Atlantic Marine Construction, Co. Inc. v. U.S. Dist. Ct. for the W. Dist. of Tex., No. 12-929, 2013 U.S. LEXIS 8775, 571 U.S. ____ (2013) will hopefully change that.
The Court said that forum selection clauses should be enforced absent extraordinary circumstances, noting that the parties should abide by what they bargained. The Court also explained that extraordinary circumstances do not include convenience of the parties. This decision underscores the importance of taking care in bargaining and negotiating contract provisions.