Symposium

Forum Selection After Atlantic Marine

In Atlantic Marine Constr. Co. v. United States Dist. Court, decided in December 2013, the Supreme Court held that parties’ restrictive forum-selection clauses (agreements to litigate only in a particular forum) do not make an otherwise proper federal-court venue improper. In doing so, the Court abrogated a strong majority of circuits that had allowed such clauses to be enforced through a motion to dismiss for improper venue under Rule 12(b)(3) and 28 U.S.C. § 1406. Instead, the Court held that federal courts may “enforce” such clauses under the venue-transfer statute of 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), which allows a court to transfer from one proper venue to another proper venue for the convenience of the parties and witnesses, and in the interests of justice. When a restrictive forum-selection clause is at issue, however, the Court instructed lower courts to grant the motion to transfer to the party-selected venue unless public factors warrant against transfer. The Court thus modified the normal considerations applicable to a 1404(a) transfer. Further, unlike normal 1404(a) transfers, in which the transferee court applies the law that the transferor court would have applied, pursuant to the Court’s decision in Erie R.R. Co. v. Tompkins, the Court stated that a transferee court in 1404(a) transfer based on a restrictive forum-selection clause should apply the law of the transferee court.

Atlantic Marine thus dramatically alters the law of venue, the law of venue transfer, the Erie Doctrine, and the ability of parties to contractually control their litigation. This Symposium, sponsored by the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and the Hastings Law Journal, will consider the effects and implications of Atlantic Marine on the law of venue and beyond.

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September 19, 2014

UC Hastings College of the Law, Louis B. Mayer Lounge

1:00-1:15pm: Welcome Address
• Reuel Schiller, Associate Dean For Research (University of California, Hastings College of the Law)

1:15-2:45pm: Panel 1: Moderated by Mary Kay Kane (University of California, Hastings College of the Law)
• Scott Dodson (University of California, Hastings College of the Law)
• Robin Effron (Brooklyn Law School)
• Stephen Sachs (Duke University School of Law)
• Brad Shannon (Florida Coastal School of Law)

2:45-3:00pm: Break

3:00-4:30pm: Panel 2: Moderated by Rick Marcus (University of California, Hastings College of the Law)
• Andrew Bradt (University of California, Berkeley Law)
• Kevin Clermont (Cornell University Law School)
• Linda Mullenix (University of Texas School of Law)
• Adam Steinman (University of Alabama School of Law)

4:30-4:40pm: Closing Remarks
• James Wagstaffe (University of California, Hastings College of the Law)

4:40-5:30pm: Reception