331 F.3d 804 (11th Cir. 2003), 02-13488, P & S Business Machines, Inc. v. Canon USA, Inc.
|Citation:||331 F.3d 804|
|Party Name:||P & S Business Machines, Inc. v. Canon USA, Inc.|
|Case Date:||May 21, 2003|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit|
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F.A. Flowers, III, Victor L. Hayslip, Burr & Forman, LLP, Birmingham, AL, for Defendant-Appellant.
Kenneth Lee Cleveland, Cleveland & Cleveland, Birmingham, AL, for Plaintiff-Appellee.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.
Before BLACK, RONEY and STAPLETON[*], Circuit Judges.
The issue on appeal is whether the district court erred in denying a defendant's motion to transfer this case pursuant to a contract forum selection clause because of alleged inconvenience to the plaintiff and allegations that the plaintiff could not afford to litigate in the forum designated by the contract. We reverse and remand with instructions to transfer to the Central District of California.
Plaintiff P & S Business Machines, Inc. ("P & S") is an Alabama corporation. Defendant Canon U.S.A., Inc. is a New York corporation, and Defendant Canon Computer Systems, Inc. was a California corporation that still maintains offices in California. Defendants are jointly referred to as "Canon." P & S and Canon entered into a contract in which Canon agreed to refer customers in a set geographic region to P & S, as an approved service facility for Canon products. On May 26, 1999, Canon sent P & S a letter expressing dissatisfaction with P & S and giving P & S time to improve. In reliance, P & S took action to increase customer satisfaction and asked Canon whether the deficiencies had been remedied. P & S alleged that Canon's May 26 letter was false in that Canon ceased referring customers to P & S as of May 26. P & S claims that Canon had a duty to disclose in the May 26 letter that Canon had terminated P & S's status as an authorized service facility and had ceased referral of customers.
P & S filed suit against Canon in Alabama circuit court, alleging causes of action for fraud and suppression. Canon removed the action to federal court based on diversity jurisdiction and filed a motion to transfer the case to the district court in California, pursuant to a forum selection clause in the agreement between the parties which provided that California law would apply and that suits between the parties should be brought within the state of California as follows:
B. SERVICE FACILITY CONSENTS TO THE JURISDICTION AND VENUE OF THE STATE AND FEDERAL COURTS SITUATED WITHIN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA UPON SERVICE OF PROCESS MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STATUTES OF CALIFORNIA AND THE UNITED STATES. SERVICE FACILITY FURTHER AGREES THAT SUITS BETWEEN THE PARTIES UPON ANY AND ALL CAUSES OF ACTION, WHETHER OR NOT SUCH CAUSES OF ACTION HAVE RISEN UNDER THIS AGREEMENT AND REGARDLESS
OF THE LEGAL THEORY...
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