April 9th, 2013 - 6:54 am § in Bonds & Surety

The Supreme Court Takes a Look at Forum Selection Clauses


Here is a brief post that I published for ClaimKit, a surety data consultant, about a new Supreme Court case taking a look at forum selection clauses. Enjoy!

Claim professionals have to be aware of the law. As part of your undying commitment to getting your work done right, you have to know your stuff.

Most of us in the legal realm can acknowledge the empty abyss that is construction law cases that get before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Contract construction is typically not something that makes it all the way up the chain. But those of you that have been wanting some top end opinion on forum selection clauses – rejoice.

Last week, SCOTUS took on review of a 5th Circuit case involving a federal construction project in Texas. The general contractor in this case inserted a forum selection clause that required all litigation to be filed in Virginia. A subcontractor filed a suit against the general contractor in a Texas federal court, when the general failed to pay.

In In re Atl. Marine Const. Co., Inc., 701 F.3d 736 (5th Cir. 2012) cert. granted, 12-929, 2013 WL 1285318 (Apr. 1, 2013), the general contractor filed a motion to dismiss and/or transfer the matter in accordance with the forum selection clause – the trial court denied it. After an unsuccessful appeal to the 5th Circuit, the general filed for certiorari and was granted the pleasure of a SCOTUS review. Exciting, indeed.

For those of you that wondered what the 5th Circuit said, there was a concurrence with the trial court. The limited 5th Circuit opinion stated that the court, in determining a transfer of forum, must consider more than just the forum selection clause. The court should consider convenience, location of witnesses and documents, and property laws.

So we all now await the SCOTUS opinion. In the meantime, sureties and claim professionals should not feel very comfortable in their bonded principals’ forum selection clauses. Be wary that the court will look to more than the lettering of the contract.

February 13th, 2013 - 7:47 am § in Certification, Green Building

The GSA’s Big Green Building Decision Is, Rightfully, A Public One

  Every 2 months, I reemerge from my heavy workload to talk to you all on this blog. For years I was better at it; you could expect a post every two days. But at least I don’t appear as seldom as the GSA – the federal construction king – who makes a single appearance […[...]

December 10th, 2012 - 12:25 pm § in Certification, Design, Green Building

Greenbuild Announcements: Search Engines, Grants and Final Comments on v4

  Wow, my Google Reader account was stuffed full of LEED today. Not that it’s incredibly strange to see LEED painted all over the news – because that could not be further than the truth – but for once it was a bounty of positive items from the nation’s leader in green bu[...]