Southern District of Texas Notes Split Re Validity and Enforcement of Forum Selection Clauses

Per Boccard USA Corp. v. TigPro Inc., Slip Copy, 2007 WL 1894154 (S.D.Tex. Jul 02, 2007) (NO. CIV.A. H-07-0177):
If the forum-selection clause is valid, TigPro's contractual agreement waives objections that the venue is inconvenient or otherwise improper. See Nw. Nat'l Ins. Co. v. Donovon, 916 F.2d 372, 378 (7th Cir.1990) ("[T]he signing of a valid forum selection clause is a waiver of the right to move for a change of venue on the ground of inconvenience to the moving party."); Hodge v. Ampere Auto. Corp., No. 3:01-cv-0976, 2001 WL 1478794, at *3 (N.D.Tex. Nov.19, 2001). Courts in the Fifth Circuit analyze the validity of forum-selection clauses under federal law, regardless of whether jurisdiction is based on diversity or a federal question. FN4 See Haynsworth v. The Corporation, 121 F.3d 956, 962 (5th Cir.1997); Int'l Software Sys., Inc. v. Amplicon, Inc., 77 F.3d 112, 115 (5th Cir.1996).

FN4. The circuits are divided on whether enforcement of a forum-selection clause is procedural and governed by federal law or substantive and governed by state law. The Second, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits refer to federal law when considering motions to dismiss predicated on forum-selection clauses. Jones v. Weibrecht, 901 F.2d 17, 19 (2d Cir.1990); Int'l Software Sys. v. Amplicon, Inc., 77 F.3d 112, 115 (5th Cir.1996); Manetti-Farrow, Inc. v. Gucci Am., Inc., 858 F.2d 509 (9th Cir.1988). The Third Circuit has applied state law. General Eng'g Corp. v. Martin Marietta Alumina, Inc., 783 F.2d 352, 357 (3d Cir.1986). The Fourth Circuit in an unpublished opinion has applied state law without explanation. Nutter v. New Rents, Inc., No. 90-2493, 1991 WL 193490, at *5-6 (4th Cir.1991). Other circuits have declined to take a position on the question. Lambert v. Kysar, 983 F.2d 1110, 1116 (1st Cir.1993); Nw. Nat'l Ins. Co. v. Donovan, 916 F.2d 372, 374 (7th Cir.1990); 1202 M.B. Rests., Inc. v. CKE Rests., Inc., 183 F.3d 750, 752 n. 4 (8th Cir.1999).


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