Court Of Appeal Validates Contractual Choice Of Venue

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In this November of 2010 post, I considered whether venue selection agreements are valid in California. I noted that the California Supreme Court had held that venue selection provisions are void. General Acceptance Corp. v. Robinson, 207 Cal. 285, 289 (1929). I also noted two more recent decisions by the Courts of Appeal that appear to follow the holding in General Acceptance: Alexander v. Superior Court, 114 Cal.App.4th 723 (2003) and Arntz Builders v. Superior Court, 122 Cal. App. 4th 1195 (2004). I closed my post with the following question:

What if the parties agree on a venue that is one of several permissible venues under California’s venue statutes? The Court of Appeal in Arntz allowed that ”there is some logic to the contention that the parties should be able to agree among statutorily permissible counties”. However, the Court declined to decide the question. Stay tuned

Now we have a Court of Appeal decision that directly answers that question. In Battaglia v. Superior Court, (Cal. App. Case No. D063076, April 11, 2013), the Court held:

[W]here, as here, two sophisticated parties agree, pursuant to arm’s length negotiations, to litigate an action in one of multiple statutorily permissible venues, they should be held to their agreement.

Of course, there is always the possibility that other Courts of Appeal will disagree or that the Supreme Court may reach another conclusion. So, again, I say “stay tuned”!

 

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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