Have Lawsuit…May Travel

Having practiced law for almost 20 years, I have had the pleasure of reading over thousands of pages of “legalese” which is interesting to me (most times) but boring to most everyone else.

At the end of most agreements are terms which we lawyers call “boilerplate” provisions.  They usually contain terms about this being the final agreement; no changes can be made unless in writing; awarding attorneys’ fees and costs awarded to whoever wins a challenge to the agreement, etc.

By the time you read these provisions, your eyes are usually blurry, and you’ve had your fill of energy drinks or caffeine, whichever is your preference.

However, tucked into these “boilerplate” terms are provisions that usually determine the “choice of law” for interpreting and enforcing the agreement and/or “forum selection” establishing the location and jurisdiction where any case related to the agreement would have to be brought.  What this means is that you may be an Arizona resident or company, but if the person or entity which you are doing business with is located out-of-state, you may have to travel to that state in order to pursue your lawsuit.  If you are damaged or even worse, you will have to travel to that foreign state if you are a defendant being sued.  Not the type of business travel someone looks forward to.

I recently had a client who was sued out-of-state despite the fact that he never in his life stepped foot in that state.  You can imagine his surprise when he learned that, not only was he being sued out of state, he would have to travel there for depositions, hearings, etc.

So next time you are about to sign your name on the dotted line, make sure you flip through to the back pages and see what law will govern the agreement and what jurisdictional forum applies to make sure that you agree with it.

This is just one of the many examples of how our firm handles the representation of individuals and businesses in contract-related matters, in fulfilling our mission of Our Business is Your Peace of Mind®.

Written by Attorney Eddie A. Pantiliat, eap@hgplaw.com

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