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Maritime Law--Cruise Plaintiffs Must Read Their Ticket to Figure Out Venue or Risk Dismissal

In Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. v. Clarke, 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 15655 (Fla. 3d DCA Oct. 8, 2014), the Third District Court of Appeal, which encompasses Miami-Dade County, ruled that where a defendant cruise line reasonably communicated to the plaintiff that there was a forum selection clause in the ticket contract before the plaintiff boarded vessel, the trial court erred in denying defendant's motion to dismiss for improper venue. The Court further found that although the forum selection clause stated that all disputes shall be litigated in United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, defendant had no obligation to remove state court case to federal court.



In this case, the plaintiff, while she apparently filed her lawsuit timely, filed it in the wrong court. The plaintiff attempted to argue that it was up to the defendant to remove the lawsuit if it wanted to assert the forum selection clause. The court rejected this argument, finding that the court has previously recognized dismissal as the proper mechanism to enforce a forum selection clause in a contract.

If you are interested in receiving a copy of this decision or wish to contact me, you may do so by writing to me at mov@chaloslaw.com.




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