22 F.3d 51 (2nd Cir. 1994), 1080, John Boutari and Son, Wines and Spirits, S.A. v. Attiki Importers and Distributors Inc.

Docket Nº:1080, Docket 93-7904.
Citation:22 F.3d 51
Party Name:JOHN BOUTARI AND SON, WINES AND SPIRITS, S.A., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. ATTIKI IMPORTERS AND DISTRIBUTORS INCORPORATED, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:April 15, 1994
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
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Page 51

22 F.3d 51 (2nd Cir. 1994)

JOHN BOUTARI AND SON, WINES AND SPIRITS, S.A., Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

ATTIKI IMPORTERS AND DISTRIBUTORS INCORPORATED, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 1080, Docket 93-7904.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

April 15, 1994

Argued Feb. 24, 1994.

Scott H. Wyner, New York City (Winick & Rich, P.C., of counsel), for plaintiff-appellant John Boutari and Son, Wines and Spirits, S.A.

Patricia Gallagher, Huntington, NY (McCarthy, McCarthy & DeMartin, P.C., of counsel), for defendant-appellee Attiki Importers and Distributors Inc.

Before: VAN GRAAFEILAND, JACOBS, Circuit Judges, and BEER, District Judge. [*]

Page 52

VAN GRAAFEILAND, Circuit Judge:

John Boutari and Sons, Wines and Spirits, S.A. appeals from a summary judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Spatt, J.) which dismissed its claims against Attiki Importers and Distributors Incorporated for breach of contract, goods sold and delivered, and unjust enrichment, on the ground that the district court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter due to a forum selection clause in the contract at issue. The district court also dismissed Attiki's counterclaim for breach of contract and failure to act in good faith. Both dismissals were without prejudice. For the reasons that follow, we reverse.

Boutari is a Greek corporation engaged in the business of producing and exporting wines and spirits. Attiki is a New York corporation which imports and distributes wines and spirits. On or about March 1, 1989, Boutari and Attiki entered into a written agreement which provided, among other things, that Attiki would act as Boutari's exclusive distributor in the United States for certain products from March 1, 1989 through December 31, 1990.

Article 14 of the Agreement contains the following forum selection clause, which is at the heart of the dispute on this appeal:

This Agreement shall be governed and construed according to the Laws of Greece.

Any dispute arising between the parties hereunder shall come within the jurisdiction of the competent Greek Courts, specifically of the Thessaloniki Courts.

Boutari's principal offices are located in Thessaloniki, Greece; Attiki's principal offices are on Long Island in New York.

On February 5, 1992, Boutari commenced the instant suit against Attiki in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Boutari's complaint sought money allegedly owed by Attiki for goods shipped during the contract period. In its answer, Attiki denied all allegations of wrongdoing and asserted a number of affirmative defenses including lack of jurisdiction. Paragraph 24 of the answer sets forth that defense as follows:

This Court lacks jurisdiction over this matter and this answering defendant since the parties have contractually agreed that any dispute shall come within the jurisdiction of the competent Greek courts, specifically of the Thessaloniki Courts.

Attiki's answer also included a counterclaim alleging that Boutari failed to negotiate in good faith an extension of the agreement. Thereafter the parties proceeded with discovery. Attiki utilized the discovery process to depose in Nassau County, New York one of Boutari's officers, Thras Anastasiades, who resides in Greece. Discovery was completed by December 4, 1992. A pretrial order deadline was set for February 5, 1993, and that deadline was later extended by about a month.

On February...

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