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Can you write up a contract stating that any disputes be handled in a specific city/state?

Costa Mesa, CA |

I am working with a client who works in Florida. I am located In California. Can I write up a contract stating that if we need to go to court, it needs to be handled in Orange County, CA?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Yes, ordinarily contracts can specify jurisdiction and choice of law where there are multiple locations that could apply.

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.


  2. Ms. McCall is correct. Many, to most contracts I see have clauses committing the parties to file a lawsuit or arbitrate their disagreements in a certain agreed upon county and to use California law rather than the law of another state or country. You should obtain language for these clauses from an attorney or source you trust as the language in these clauses must be stated in a way that the courts will enforce the terms you agree upon. Good Luck.

    *Scott G. Nathan has been licensed to practice law in California since 1983. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should it be construed as legal advice for any particular case or matter. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with Scott G. Nathan or my law firm. For specific advice about your particular situation, you should consult with an attorney immediately.


  3. This is a fairly common provision in contracts referred to as a forum selection clause. A model would read something like:

    "Choice of Forum. Each party irrevocably and unconditionally agrees it will not commence any action, litigation or proceeding of any kind against any other party arising from or relating to this Agreement and all contemplated transactions, in any forum other than the courts of California sitting in Orange County, California. Each party irrevocably and unconditionally submits to the exclusive jurisdiction of such courts and agrees to bring any such action, litigation or proceeding only in such courts."

    619-881-2305. This response to your question is general in nature, as not all the facts are known. Please consult an experienced attorney to review all your facts to receive specific advice for your matter. Mr. Paul's response does not create an attorney/client relationship.


  4. You can select a jurisdiction and you can designate the choice of law, but you cannot pick a particular venue unless the venue would otherwise be appropriate under the venue statutes. See General Acceptance Corporation of California v. Robinson (1929) 207 Cal. 285, 288 (venue statutes declare the public policy of this state with respect to the proper court for an action, and therefore, agreements fixing venue in some location other than that allowed by statute are contrary to public policy); Arntz Builders v. Superior Court (2004) 122 Cal.App.4th 1195, 1204; Alexander v. Superior Court (2003) 114 Cal.App.4th 723, 731. So for example, if you live in Orange County, you can't pick courts in San Francisco which have no connection to the case and where venue would not otherwise be appropriate.

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