Following an alleged incident, the injured Jones Act seaman approached his employer requesting monies in addition to the daily maintenance rate he was receiving as a matter of right. His employer agreed and the parties entered a post-incident wage advance agreement. Like many agreements of this type, the wage advance agreement contained a forum selection clause identifying a single federal district court in which suit relating to the underlying incident could be filed. Contrary to the mandatory forum selection provision, however, the seaman filed suit in a nearby state court. The SMBP maritime group filed a Motion to Dismiss for Improper Venue based on the forum selection clause contained in the wage advance agreement. The state court granted the Motion, finding the forum selection clause was valid and enforceable, requiring transfer of the state court action to the agreed upon federal district court.
A great precedent for use in future enforcement actions!