Walker v. Amerireach.com

Is a claim under a state's business practices act barred by a default of a previous contract claim?

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The Georgia Court of Appeals held that a claim under the Business Practices Act was a claim independent of a contract claim, and was not subject to the contract's forum selection clause or barred res judicata. Walker had signed a distribution agreement with Amerireach that contained a forum selection clause requiring all claims under the contract be brought in Texas. Walker ceased distributing the company’s products, and notified them of her intent to sue under the Georgia Business Practices Act, which required the company to repurchase all usable inventory from a distributor if the distributor stops operating. Amerireach sued in Texas seeking a judgment declaring that any claim under the contract must be prosecuted in Texas. Walker defaulted in Texas, and sued in Georgia. The trial court dismissed her claim as being barred res judicata. The Appeals court reversed, holding that Walker's statutory claim did not rest on any issues contained in the contract. Her claims were entirely independent of the contract, and did not "arise under it" invoking the contract’s forum selection clause, nor were they barred by the default of the previous Texas default.

Case and case summary are also available online at: http://www.mlmlegal.com/legal-cases/Walker_v_AmerireachCom.php

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