November 12, 2013
On October 9, 2013, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Atlantic Marine Construction Co. v. United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. This case involves a forum selection clause, which is contractual language specifying the judicial forum for resolution of any litigation that may arise regarding the contract in question. The question before the Supreme Court is twofold: (1) Does the Court's earlier decision in Stewart Organization, Inc. v. Ricoh Corp. require federal courts to enforce forum selection clauses strictly, or are such clauses subject to a discretionary balancing-of-conveniences analysis; and (2) how should courts allocate the burden of proof between parties seeking to enforce or avoid the clause?
To discuss the case, we have Stephen Sachs, who is an Assistant Professor of Law at Duke University School of Law.