The Venue Shuffle: Forum Selection Clauses and ERISA


Forum selection clauses are ubiquitous. Historically, the judiciary was hostile to contracts limiting a plaintiff’s venue options. The tide has since turned. Today, lower courts routinely enforce such clauses. This Article challenges this reflexive response in the special context of ERISA cases. It mines ERISA’s statutory text, rich legislative history, and historical context to supply an in-depth exploration of ERISA’s unique policy goal of providing employees “ready access to the Federal courts.” The Article then explains how forum selection clauses undermine this goal and thus should be invalid under controlling Supreme Court jurisprudence.

About the Author

Associate Professor and Professor, University at Buffalo School of Law, the State University of New York.

By uclalaw