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Should I sign a settlement agreement that stipulates the jurisdiction and applicable law is in the area of the other party?

Santa Barbara, CA |

I received a settlement agreement and release from a merchant I bought services from. Once I sign it, I will receive a full refund for services. The agreement says that in the event of any lawsuits related to the agreement, the jurisdiction has to be in his area, which is New York. I always thought if anyone wanted to sue me, it had to be where I was located. Should I sign this agreement or ask him to take out that clause?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Avvo is for legal analysis, not advise as to whether or not to do something. If you receive payment, there will be nothing to sue over, especially given the release,(which you could insist be "mutual") and if the settlement is not paid, the settlement agreement would be without "consideration" and thus unenforceable.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  2. You should consult with an attorney in New York, as this contract may concern the laws of New York State, in which case they may be different from California. Also, if you do need to sue on this settlement or if you are sued on this settlement, will it be worthwhile to deal with that lawsuit in New York, or would that make the settlement not worthwhile? If this is not a consumer contract, you might be sued on it in another state, if there is a clause that states where jurisdiction is agreed for any disputes.

    Robert Stempler (please see DISCLAIMER below)
    www.StopCollectionLawsuits.com
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    NOTICE: The above statements are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended as legal advice or advice of any sort for a specific case or legal matter. If you do not have a signed attorney-client fee agreement with the Consumer Law Office of Robert Stempler, APC ("the Firm"), then until such written fee agreement is provided and signed by both a prospective client and attorney for a particular case, neither Mr. Stempler nor the Firm will represent you nor will they be your attorney in any matter and you remain responsible for retaining your own attorney and for compliance with any and all deadlines and for any statutes of limitations that may pertain to potential claims. Comments made on a public forum, such as Avvo.com, to not have any confidentiality because others may read them. If you desire a private consultation with Mr. Stempler that is confidential, please go to www.StopCollectionLawsuits.com and submit a free eCase Review. The result portrayed for a client was dependent on the facts of that case. Results will differ if based on different facts. The Firm and Mr. Stempler are a debt relief agency. The Firm and Mr. Stempler help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.


  3. In order to fully answer this question, an attorney should review the entire settlement agreement and release to make sure other terms do not alter the response to this specific question. I think your concern is that (1) if the merchant does not pay you the "settlement" (which is the consideration for the settlement agreement) that you would have to sue the merchant for breach of contract in New York; and (2) if the merchant sues you that you will have to litigate in New York (without more facts, I cannot think of a situation where the merchant would sue you because the merchant already provided services to you and, implied from the "release", you are releasing the merchant from liability at this point). It seems like #1 is more likely -- do you have specific concerns that the merchant will not refund you? If the chances are high, then you need to decide if this term needs to be removed from the agreement. Best of luck to you!

    The above information does not constitute legal advice and does not form the basis of an attorney-client relationship. Lisa M. Blasser, Esq. and Blasser Law are not responsible for any actions or inactions that you decide to pursue in lieu of the above advice.


  4. In my 21 years of experience, I have never seen a lawsuit after a refund for services settlement agreement. And settlement contracts in general have low numbers of lawsuits. So in your situation, I doubt there a significant risk signing it.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in Florida and GA. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here. less

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