Construction Law Blog
On October 9, 2013, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the Atlantic Marine case. Less than two months later, on December 3, 2013, the nation’s highest court issued an opinion declaring that upon motion of one of the parties, a federal district court should transfer a case to the forum selected in the contract “unless extraordinary circumstances unrelated to the convenience of the parties clearly disfavor the transfer.”
The Supreme Court’s Atlantic Marine opinion reaffirms the enforceability of choice of forum clauses and suggests that courts may only disregard the contractually designated forum for litigating disputes under exceptionally rare circumstances. Accordingly, owner, contractors and subcontractors should pay particular attention to the choice of forum clauses in their contracts and subcontracts because federal courts now have a clear mandate that they must be enforced.