Outbound and Inbound Forum Selection Clauses

A forum selection clause is where a contract picks the place where any disputes must be litigated. There are outbound and inbound clauses. An outbound clause provide for venue in a different state. An inbound clause provides for venue within Missouri, usually in a particular county.

Missouri law favors forum selection clauses and presumes them to be valid. Cygnus v. SBL Loans, LLC v. Hejna, 584 S.W.3d 324, 330 (Mo. Ct. App. 2019). If the terms are “freely negotiated,” the forum selection clause will be enforced, provided it is fair and reasonable to do so.  M/S Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore Co., 407 U.S. 1, 18 (1972). To successfully dispute a forum selection clause, the party resisting enforcement bears a heavy burden in convincing a court that the provision is unfair or unreasonable.

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