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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Cases: Carnival Cruise redux

Idaho_flag In a case whose facts are nearly identical with those in Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc., v. Shute, 499 U.S. 585 (1991), the Idaho Supreme Court has held that state statutes invalidating choice of forum clauses cannot be applied to actions that occur on the high seas.

Plaintiff was injured on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, falling as she exited an elevator. She had received her ticket in advance and had been required to sign it before boarding.  It contained a clause requiring suits to be brought in Miami, Florida, but she elected to sue in Ada County, Idaho.

Her lawyers raised a complicated argument involving competing public policies, factors governing forum selection in maritime cases, and Idaho’s own strongly expressed statutory policy against forum selection clauses.  But the court wasn’t impressed. Whatever Idaho’s views of the subject, it said, at least in maritime cases the state courts are bound by Carnival Cruise.

Fisk v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, No. 3004, 2005 Ida. LEXIS 44 (March 4, 2005).

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