The Venue Shuffle: Forum Selection Clauses and ERISA

50 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2019 Last revised: 5 Nov 2019

See all articles by Christine Bartholomew

Christine Bartholomew

SUNY Buffalo Law School

James A. Wooten

University at Buffalo Law School

Date Written: May 26, 2019

Abstract

Forum selection clauses are ubiquitous. Historically, the judiciary was hostile to contracts limiting a plaintiff’s venue options. The tide has since turned. Today, lower courts routinely enforce such clauses. This Article challenges this reflexive response in the special context of ERISA cases. It mines ERISA’s statutory text, rich legislative history, and historical context to supply an in-depth exploration of ERISA’s unique policy goal of providing employees “ready access to the Federal courts.” The Article then explains how forum selection clauses undermine this goal and thus should be invalid under controlling Supreme Court jurisprudence.

Keywords: ERISA, Forum Selection Clauses, Civil Procedure

Suggested Citation

Bartholomew, Christine and Wooten, James A., The Venue Shuffle: Forum Selection Clauses and ERISA (May 26, 2019). UCLA Law Review, Forthcoming; University at Buffalo School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3394587

Christine Bartholomew (Contact Author)

SUNY Buffalo Law School ( email )

School of Law
528 O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States

James A. Wooten

University at Buffalo Law School ( email )

713 John Lord O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260
United States
716-645-2318 (Phone)

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