Supreme Court of the United States. Argued January 15, Willard argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were David L.
The agreement provided that any dispute arising under the contract was to be resolved in the London Court of Justice. Thereafter, Zapata sued Unterweser in admiralty in federal court at Tampa.
Citing the forum clause, Unterweser moved to dismiss. The Court further generalized that "in the light of present-day commercial realities and expanding international trade we conclude that the forum clause should control absent a strong showing that it should be set aside.
The Court did not define precisely the circumstances that would make it unreasonable for a court to enforce a forum clause. Instead, the Court discussed a number of factors that made it reasonable to enforce the clause at issue in The Bremen and  that, presumably, would be pertinent in any determination whether to enforce a similar clause.
Further, the Court observed that it was not "dealing with an agreement between two Americans to resolve their essentially Carnival cruise lines harvard disputes in a remote alien forum," and that in such a case, "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 Court stated that even where the forum clause establishes a remote forum for resolution of conflicts, "the party claiming [unfairness] should bear a heavy burden of proof. Alternatively, the Court of Appeals ruled that the clause should not be enforced because enforcement effectively would deprive respondents of an opportunity to litigate their claim against petitioner.
These facts suggest that, even apart from the evidence of negotiation regarding the forum clause, it was entirely reasonable for the Court in The  Bremen to have expected Unterweser and Zapata to have negotiated with care in selecting a forum for the resolution of disputes arising from their special towing contract.
Achille Lauro ed Altri-Gestione, F. In this context, it would be entirely unreasonable for us to assume that respondents—or any other cruise passenger—would negotiate with petitioner the terms of a forum-selection clause in an ordinary commercial cruise ticket.
Common sense dictates that a ticket of this kind will be a form contract the terms of which are not subject to negotiation, and that an individual purchasing the ticket will not have bargaining parity with the cruise line.
Including a reasonable forum clause in a form contract of this kind well may be permissible for several reasons: First, a cruise line has a special interest in limiting the fora in which it potentially could be subject to suit.
Because a cruise ship typically carries passengers from many locales, it is not unlikely that a mishap on a cruise could subject the cruise line to litigation in several different fora.
See The Bremen, U. Additionally, a clause establishing ex ante the forum for dispute resolution has the salutary  effect of dispelling any confusion about where suits arising from the contract must be brought and defended, sparing litigants the time and expense of pretrial motions to determine the correct forum and conserving judicial resources that otherwise would be devoted to deciding those motions.
See Stewart Organization, U. Finally, it stands to reason that passengers who purchase tickets containing a forum clause like that at issue in this case benefit in the form of reduced fares reflecting the savings that the cruise line enjoys by limiting the fora in which it may be sued.
The Court made this statement in evaluating a hypothetical "agreement between two Americans to resolve their essentially local disputes in a remote alien forum.
In the present case, Florida is not a "remote alien forum," nor—given the fact that Mrs. In  light of these distinctions, and because respondents do not claim lack of notice of the forum clause, we conclude that they have not satisfied the "heavy burden of proof," ibid.
In this case, there is no indication that petitioner set Florida as the forum in which disputes were to be resolved as a means of discouraging cruise passengers from pursuing legitimate claims.
Any suggestion of such a bad-faith motive is belied by two facts: Petitioner has its principal place of business in Florida, and many of its cruises depart from and return to Florida ports. Finally, respondents have conceded that they were given notice of the forum provision and, therefore, presumably retained the option of rejecting the contract with impunity.
In the case before us, therefore, we conclude that the Court of Appeals erred in refusing to enforce the forum-selection clause.Students: Tell your instructors about the savings at attheheels.com Business Bookshelf Summaries and excerpts of the latest books, special offers, and more from Harvard Business Review Press.
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