This week, the Supreme Court of Texas issued no opinions but granted seven oral arguments. One of these grants deals with enforcement of mandatory forum-selection clauses and is of particular interest.
In re Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., et al. (Cause No. 15-0328)
In this case, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company appeals the Third Court of Appeals’ decision to deny mandamus relief following the trial court’s denial of Nationwide’s Motion to Dismiss pursuant to a mandatory forum-selection clause stipulating suit must be filed in Ohio. The Plaintiff in this case filed various claims, including breach of the employment contract, against his former employer in Travis County, Texas on December 26, 2012. Nationwide filed an answer, asserted counter claims, and exchanged discovery requests and responses before ultimately filing its Motion to Dismiss on January 6, 2015.
The Supreme Court of Texas is presented with the following broad issues: (1) whether Nationwide waived enforcement of the mandatory forum-selection clause by substantially invoking the Texas judicial process through active participation in litigation brought in Texas for almost two years before filing a motion to dismiss based on the mandatory forum-selection clause and (2) whether the Plaintiff suffered sufficient prejudice by Nationwide’s delay in asserting the mandatory forum-selection clause such that Plaintiff can avoid the agreed forum as he is now barred by statute of limitations from bringing his suit in Ohio.
Oral argument is set for February 10, 2016.