Atlantic Marine Construction v. US District Court

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Atlantic Marine Construction v. US District Court
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided 2013-12-3
Appealed from 5th Circuit


Atlantic Marine Construction Co. ("AMC"), a Virginia corporation, contracted with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to build a childhood development center in Fort Hood, Texas.

AMC sub-contracted some of the work to J-Crew Management, a Texas corporation. The contract with J-Crew included a forum-selection clause for any litigation in either (1) the Norfolk, Virginia circuit court or (2) US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ( E.D. Va.).

Procedural History

Following a payment dispute, J-Crew sued AMC in US federal western district court of Texas.

AMC moved to dismiss the case, contending the wrong venue & improper under 28 U.S. Code ยง 1406(a). AMC loses.


Should a federal district court transfer a case to the federal venue designated by the parties in a valid forum-selection clause?


Yes. Section 1404(a) is the appropriate mechanism for enforcing a valid forum-selection clause & the clause should be enforced absent extraordinary circumstances.


Samuel Alito: Trial courts normally consider both (1) convenience & (2) public interest in assessing a Section 1404(a) motion to transfer venue.


If the forum-selection clause points to a non-federal forum, the correct enforcement mechanism is the doctrine of forum non conveniens.