Sunday, November 24, 2013

Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Shute case brief

Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Shute case brief summary
499 U.S. 585 (1991)

Petitioner cruise line obtained writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which held forum selection clause in petitioner's contract for passengers on its cruise lines was unenforceable, since enforcement would effectively deprive respondent injured party of her right to a day in court because of distance involved, and because it violated Limitation of Vessel Owner's Liability Act, 46 U.S.C.S. App. § 183c.

Respondents were residents of the State of Washington, and they boarded petitioner's ship in California. Respondent wife was injured while the ship was in international waters off the coast of Mexico. Respondents filed an action in the U.S. District Court in Washington, which granted petitioner's motion for summary judgment, since the contract between respondents and petitioner provided that all suits were to be brought in Florida. The appellate court reversed the order granting summary judgment.


  • On certiorari, the court held that because respondents had notice of the forum clause, because petitioner's principal place of business was in Florida, and since there was no bad faith motive for the choice of a Florida forum, Florida was not an inconvenient forum. 
  • Since the choice of forum did not limit petitioner's liability in any way, petitioner did not violate the Limitation of Vessel Owner's Liability Act, 46 U.S.C.S. App. § 183c. 
  • Thus, the choice of forum clause in the contract was valid. The court reversed the decision of the appellate court.

The court reversed the judgment.

Recommended Supplements for Civil Procedure

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