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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The trial court denied a motion to enforce a contractual provision under which the parties agreed that all dispute resolution proceedings, including litigation, would take place in the state of New York. HOLDING:Writ of mandamus is conditionally granted. In The Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore Co., 407 U.S. 1 (1972), the U.S. Supreme Court had before it an international forum selection clause that selected the London Court of Justice as the forum for dispute resolution. The Supreme Court was unmoved by the argument that English courts might enforce an exculpatory clause in the contract of towage, and the defendant might therefore be relieved of liability for its own wrongdoing. In rejecting this concern as a basis for invalidating the forum-selection clause, the court said it was not “dealing with an agreement between two Americans to resolve their essentially local disputes in a remote alien forum.” The Supreme Court explained that in an agreement between Americans regarding essentially local disputes, “the serious inconvenience of the contractual forum to one or both of the parties might carry greater weight in determining the reasonableness of the forum clause. The remoteness of the forum might suggest that the agreement was an adhesive one.” But the Supreme Court emphasized, “[Y]et even there the party claiming [the agreement should not be enforced] should bear a heavy burden of proof.” The Supreme Court observed that inconvenience in litigating in the chosen forum may be foreseeable at the time of contracting, and when that is the case, “it should be incumbent on the party seeking to escape his contract to show that trial in the contractual forum will be so gravely difficult and inconvenient that he will for all practical purposes be deprived of his day in court.” Louis Dreyfus Corp. has not made such a showing. In the present case, the state of New York is not a “remote alien forum.” There is no indication that AIU Insurance Corp. or Dreyfus chose New York as a means of discouraging claims. Nor is there any evidence of fraud or overreaching. With regard to the Insurance Code, the court does not decide the extent to which Article 21.42 or former Article 21.43 9 govern the insurance contract at issue. Neither requires suit to be brought or maintained in Texas. Dreyfus argues that insurance proceeds will benefit Texans or Texas businesses, and therefore the case should be tried in Hidalgo County. “This is highly offensive to a system of justice based on the rule of law and gives fodder to those who have in the past questioned the fairness of Texas courts.” The forum-selection clause at issue is enforceable, the court concludes. Dreyfus contends that AIU has an adequate remedy by appeal, and therefore mandamus relief is unavailable. While recognizing there is some tension between the court’s holding here and a few of its prior decisions concerning special appearances and separate trials of damages and liability, the court finds that “subjecting a party to trial in a forum other than that agreed upon and requiring an appeal to vindicate the rights granted in a forum-selection clause is clear harassment.” OPINION:Owen, J., Hecht, Smith, Wainwright and Brister, JJ., join. DISSENT:Phillips, C.J.; O’Neill, J., Jefferson and Schneider, JJ., join. “The Court reasons that we should grant mandamus relief here to enforce this forum selection clause because we routinely grant mandamus relief to enforce arbitration agreements not governed by the Texas Arbitration Act, which the Court characterizes as just”another type of forum selection clause.’ ___ S.W.3d at ___. But there are important differences between arbitration agreements governed by federal law and forum selection clauses. While Texas public policy has always encouraged arbitration, it has not always favored the forum selection clause.”

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