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Outbound Forum-Selection Clause - Third-Party Claim

Ex parte International Paper Co., [Ms. 1180144, Mar. 1, 2019] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2019). This unanimous decision by Justice Shaw issues a writ of mandamus to the Wilcox Circuit Court directing the court to grant a motion to dismiss filed by International Paper (“IP”), invoking an outbound forum-selection clause requiring suit in Memphis, Tennessee.

The claims were asserted by third-party plaintiffs who contended that serious inconvenience would result if they were forced to litigate their claims against IP in Tennessee while also having to defend a related case in Wilcox County. The court held “[n]othing in the materials before us demonstrates any issues litigated in the third-party action will also be litigated in the Caterpillar case. There is no identity of claims or underlying subject matter; there will be no duplicative discovery or litigation. Under these circumstances, enforcing the outbound forum-selection clause will not result in the ‘splitting’ of an action so as to offend judicial economy.” Ms. *20.

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