Brief Fact Summary. The Petitioner, Lauro Lines s.r.l. (Petitioner), moved to dismiss an action filed against it by victims of the hijacking of one of its airplanes, citing a forum selection clause printed on the plane tickets requiring litigants to pursue all claims against it in Italy.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. An order denying a motion to dismiss a civil action on the ground that a contractual forum selection clause requires that such suit be brought in another jurisdiction is not appealable under the final judgment rule, because it is not a decision on the merits that ends the litigation.
Issue. Whether an interlocutory order of a district court’s denial of a defendant’s motion to dismiss a damages action on the basis of a contractual forum-selection clause is immediately appealable under 28 U.S.C. Section: 1291 as a collateral final order.
Held. No. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Second Circuit. Title 28 U.S.C. Section: 1291 provides for appeals to the courts of appeal only from “final decisions of the district courts of the United States.” A final judgment is generally regarded as a decision by the district court that ends the litigation on the merits and leaves nothing for the court to do but execute the judgment. An order denying a motion to dismiss a civil action on the ground that a contractual forum selection clause requires that such suit be brought in another jurisdiction is not a decision on the merits that ends the litigation. Concurrence. Justice Antonin Scalia (J. Scalia) concurred. J. Scalia wrote separately merely to point out that the right of Petitioner to not be sued outside Italy was not sufficiently important to overcome the policies militating against interlocutory appeals.
This case involves an asserted right the legal and practical value of which would be destroyed if it were not vindicated before trial.View Full Point of Law