Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. opposes a suit by a passenger injured on one of their cruise ships, because the cruise tickets contained an agreement that all matters relating to the cruise would be litigated before a Florida court.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Forum-selection clauses forcing individuals to agree to submit to jurisdiction in a particular place are enforceable so long as they pass the test for judicial fairness.
Facts. Defendant Shute purchased passage for a seven day cruise on the Tropicale, a ship owned by Plaintiff, through a Washington travel agent. The face of each ticket contained terms and conditions of passage, which included an agreement that all matters disputed or litigated subject to the travel agreement, would be before a Florida court. Defendant boarded the ship in California, which then sailed to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico before returning to Los Angeles. While the ship was in international waters, Defendant Eulala Shute was injured from slipping on a deck mat. Defendants filed suit in Federal District Court in Washington. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, alleging that the clause in the tickets required Defendants to bring their suit in Florida.
Issue. Whether the court should enforce a forum-selection clause forcing individuals to submit to jurisdiction in a particular state.