801 F.2d 1066 (8th Cir. 1986), 86-1036, Sun World Lines, Ltd. v. March Shipping Corp.

Docket Nº:86-1036.
Citation:801 F.2d 1066
Party Name:SUN WORLD LINES, LTD. and Double Cee Investments, Ltd., Appellants, v. MARCH SHIPPING CORPORATION and March Shipping Passenger Services, Peter Deilmann, Appellees.
Case Date:September 25, 1986
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 1066

801 F.2d 1066 (8th Cir. 1986)

SUN WORLD LINES, LTD. and Double Cee Investments, Ltd., Appellants,

v.

MARCH SHIPPING CORPORATION and March Shipping Passenger

Services, Peter Deilmann, Appellees.

No. 86-1036.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

September 25, 1986

Submitted June 12, 1986.

Fred Mayer, St. Louis, Mo., for appellants.

Bruce E. Beard, St. Louis, Mo., for appellee.

Before JOHN R. GIBSON and MAGILL, Circuit Judges, and FAIRCHILD, Circuit Judge. [*]

MAGILL, Circuit Judge.

Sun World Lines, Ltd. (Sun World) and Double Cee Investments, Ltd. (Double Cee) appeal from the district court's 1 final judgment dismissing their claims for breach of contract against Peter Deilmann for lack of proper venue. Sun World and Double Cee argue that the district court erred in enforcing a Federal Republic of Germany forum selection clause. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

In October 1981, Double Cee contracted with Deilmann to charter a passenger vessel, the Regina Maris 2. The contract,

Page 1067

which was prepared by Deilmann, included the following forum selection clause:

Parties shall strive to settle all disputes arising under and in connection with this contract by means of amicable negotiations. If, however, such disputes cannot be solved amicably they will be submitted to the competent court of the Federal Republic of Germany. Any court ruling to be taken on the basis of German procedural and/or material German law and/or principles or international private law [sic].

The clause appeared in the main body of the contract, but was not the subject of negotiations between the parties.

After execution of the contract, Double Cee and Sun World booked the vessel for Caribbean cruises leaving from Port Everglades, Florida. In May 1982, when the vessel arrived in Florida, the United States Coast Guard declared it unseaworthy, and denied entry into U.S. waters.

Double Cee and Sun World thus redirected the vessel to Canada, for use in cruises on the St. Lawrence Seaway. In June 1982, the Canadian police seized the vessel because of the illegal operation of a casino on board.

Double Cee and Sun World subsequently brought this diversity suit for breach of contract, alleging various theories of damages. The district court granted Deilmann's motion to dismiss based on the forum selection clause, 585 F.Supp. 580, and subsequently certified its order as a final judgment. This appeal followed.

II. DISCUSSION.

Double Cee and Sun World contend that enforcement of the forum selection clause (1) denies them their fair day in court and (2) contravenes Missouri public policy.

Double Cee and Sun World first argue that enforcement of the forum selection clause is unreasonable under the circumstances. They allege that requiring them to bring suit in Germany deprives them of their fair day in court because their witnesses are all in the United States. These witnesses include Double Cee's president, who is presently imprisoned in the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. They also contend that Deilmann possessed "overweening bargaining power" in negotiating the contract. They argue that Deilmann prepared the contract and never discussed the forum selection clause with them, in effect, hiding it from them.

In the seminal case The Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore Co., 407 U.S. 1, 92 S.Ct. 1907, 32 L.Ed.2d 513 (1971), the Supreme Court held that forum selection clauses...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP