The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Atl. Marine Const. Co., Inc. v. U.S. Dist. Ct. for the W. Dist. of Tex., et al., No. 12-929, 2013 U.S. LEXIS 8775, 571 U.S. ___ (2013), provides needed clarity not only on the mechanism by which forum selection clauses should be enforced but also makes clear that such clauses should, in fact, be enforced, absent “extraordinary circumstances.” This decision should make it easier for a party to obtain its contractually bargained for forum if litigation arises and, hopefully, reduce the number of challenges that are made to such contractual provisions.


Atlantic Marine, a Virginia corporation, entered into a construction contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a project at Fort Hood in Texas. Atl. Marine, 2013 U.S. LEXIS 8775, at *8. Atlantic Marine, in turn, entered into subcontract with J-Crew Management, Inc., a Texas corporation. Id. The subcontract contained a forum-selection clause specifying that disputes would be litigated in specific state or federal court in Norfolk, Virginia. Id. After a dispute arose between Atlantic Marine and J-Crew, however, J-Crew sued in the Western District of Texas, ignoring the forum-selection clause. Id.