Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Shute

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Facts: The Shutes were on a Carnival Cruise when Mrs. Shute slipped and injured herself. The boat was in international waters off the coast of Mexico at the time of the incident. The ticket that the Shutes purchased contained a clause that all disputes arising from the contract would be settled in a court in the state of Florida, to the exclusion of all other courts.

Procedural History: Plaintiffs brought suit in the state of Washington. Defendants filed motion for summary judgment in the district court because the forum clause in the ticket requires the plaintiffs to bring suit in Florida. District court granted the motion. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the defendants had sufficient minimum contacts with WA. Also, the forum clause is invalid because it wasn't freely bargained for. The plaintiffs were unable financially to litigate in Florida.

Issue: Is the forum selection clause in the ticket contract enforceable?

Arguments: Clause shouldn't be enforceable because it wasn't negotiated.

Holding: Forum selection clause should be upheld.

Reasons: Plaintiffs didn't claim lack of notice of the clause. The savings resulted from the clause is passed on to the ticket purchaser. The clause doesn't take away respondent's right to "a trial by [a] court of competent jurisdiction."

Judgment: Reversed.