Important to Obtain Home Court Advantage In Litigation
Many businesses offer their goods and services in far flung locales, often on a nationwide basis. That raises the specter of disputes ending up in courts far from the home office, in jurisdictions where your normal outside counsel may be unable to practice.
Litigating a case in a foreign jurisdiction greatly increases the expense and aggravation associated with defending a lawsuit. So it pays to think ahead and carefully draft your standard business contracts to avoid that problem. Among your standard terms and conditions should be an exclusive jurisdiction clause requiring that any dispute between the parties be brought in the courts nearest to your office. It is important that the clause be properly drafted to clearly state that the chosen court has exclusive jurisdiction, that the other party agrees to submit to that court’s jurisdiction and waives any objection to the exercise of personal jurisdiction over them, and that the clause covers all disputes arising out of or in any way related to the transaction, regardless of the legal theory asserted.
Along with standard warranty disclaimers, an exclusive jurisdiction clause can discourage a disgruntled customer from pursuing a lawsuit, giving you a greater opportunity to negotiate an amiable resolution before things get out of hand. A well drafted exclusive jurisdiction clause is an ounce of prevention that can avoid a pound of cure. In addition, it is always a good idea to have your lawyer periodically review your standard terms and conditions to make sure that all appropriate provisions are clearly spelled out to protect your interests.