Forum selection: Welcome to Florida.

Congrats to my LPCH law partner Liz Ryan for a solid win in a forum dispute.

Krueger brought tort claims against his former employer, Pulse Evolution Corp. The first sentence of the dispute resolution clause in his employment agreement said that “[a]ny dispute under this Agreement shall be arbitrated” in Palm Beach County, Florida. The forum selection clause,  found much later in the long paragraph, said, “In the event that arbitration
cannot be compelled or in order to enforce arbitration,” exclusive jurisdiction lies in Port St.Lucie County, Florida. Krueger argued that the “under this Agreement” clause impliedly carried into the forum selection provision, but the Fifth Court disagreed:

“The modifying language ‘under this Agreement’ is found only in the arbitration clause, which is the first sentence of paragraph 25. The forum selection clause, found in lines 27–30 of paragraph 25, states that it applies to disputes in which arbitration cannot be compelled. Additionally, each clause selects a different county in Florida as the forum for dispute resolution. To give meaning to both the arbitration clause and the forum selection clause, the forum selection clause must refer to disputes that are not subject to the arbitration clause, that is, disputes that do not arise ‘under this Agreement.’ If the parties wanted this modifying language to apply to the forum selection clause, they could have said so.”

Krueger v. Pulse Evolution Corp., No. 05-16-00922-CV (July 21, 2017).

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