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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In March 2001, Power Marketing Direct Inc. entered into a licensing agreement with James C. Clark, granting Clark certain rights to intellectual property owned by Power Marketing. Included in that agreement was a forum-selection clause, which read as follows: “Further, [Clark] and [Power Marketing] each agree that any action, claim or demand arising under or as a result of this Agreement shall be filed in Franklin County, Ohio and [Clark] hereby agrees and consents to the jurisdiction of any court located in Franklin County, Ohio.” In February 2004, Power Marketing entered into a similar licensing agreement with Ricky Pagnozzi. The forum-selection clause in that agreement read as follows: “Further, [Pagnozzi] and [Power Marketing] each agree that any action, claim or demand arising under or as a result of this Agreement shall be filed in the Common Pleas Court of Franklin County, Ohio, and [Pagnozzi] hereby agrees and consents to the jurisdiction of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas as to any dispute involving the parties’ business relationship, including personal jurisdiction over [Pagnozzi] and subject matter jurisdiction over the dispute.” On April 13, 2005, Clark and Pagnozzi filed suit against Power Marketing in Harris County. In their live petition, Clark and Pagnozzi alleged fraud in the inducement, fraud, and violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act. May 19, 2005, Power Marketing filed a motion to dismiss. The trial court held a hearing June 17, 2005, and later granted Power Marketing’s motion. HOLDING:Affirmed. In support of their assertion that the forum-selection clauses should be construed as narrowly drafted, Clark and Pagnozzi rely on Busse v. Pacific Cattle Feeding Fund No. 1 Ltd., 896 S.W.2d 807 (Tex. App. � Texarkana 1995, writ denied), in which the Texarkana Court of Appeals held that a forum selection clause did not encompass a claim for fraud in the inducement. The court finds Busse distinguishable. First, the Texarkana Court of Appeals interpreted the forum-selection clause to apply only to suits involving the construction of the rights and liabilities of the parties under the contract. Clark and Pagnozzi’s forum-selection clauses include suits arising as a result of the agreement. Second, the Busses were not parties to the contract sought to be enforced. Clark and Pagnozzi are indisputably parties to their respective contracts. The court does not hold that the forum-selection clauses are “narrowly drafted.” The court holds that a forum-selection clause can encompass claims of fraud in the inducement. Further, Power Marketing’s forum-selection clauses were drafted broadly enough to encompass all of Clark and Pagnozzi’s claims. “To clarify, we do not rule today on whether a forum-selection clause necessarily encompasses all pre-contractual claims. As Clark and Pagnozzi admit, all of their claims relate to Power Marketing’s alleged conduct in inducing Clark and Pagnozzi to sign the contracts. The forum-selection clauses in the license agreements they signed encompass these claims. Accordingly, Clark and Pagnozzi are obligated to bring their claims in an appropriate court in Franklin County, Ohio.” Clark and Pagnozzi argue that because a successful suit would result in the contracts being ruled void, the forum-selection clauses should not be enforced against them. The court rejects this argument. Clark and Pagnozzi argue that Power Marketing has brought suit against them in Ohio to enforce covenants not to compete in their license agreements that Clark and Pagnozzi assert violate Texas public policy. Arguing that a court outside of Texas will decide the validity of the covenants not to compete is insufficient to meet the heavy burden on the party seeking to avoid the clause to show that the clause is unreasonable under the circumstances. OPINION:Higley, J.; Taft, Higley and Bland, JJ.

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