TAMPA, Fla. – June 15, 2015 – David B. Weinstein and Andrew J. Patch, attorneys in the Tampa office of international law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A., have been awarded the 2014 Excellence in Writing Award by The Florida Bar Journal & News Editorial Board for their article, “Venue-Selection Clauses: A Trap for the Unwary.” The award-winning article was published in the February 2014 Florida Bar Journal.
The article discusses whether a forum-selection clause that mandates venue in a county with no “brick and mortar” federal courthouse precludes access to federal court. The genesis of the article was a case Weinstein and Patch litigated in the Middle District of Florida and in the Eleventh Circuit. The U.S. Supreme Court subsequently denied certiorari.
Forum-selection clauses mandating venue in a particular county are commonplace, particularly in real estate and construction contracts and, in the past, district courts within the Eleventh Circuit often construed them as permitting federal jurisdiction. In defending on appeal a summary judgment entered for their client in the District Court, the authors addressed conflicting persuasive authorities and the absence of directly controlling authority in the Eleventh Circuit. The article highlights the apparent conflict between two recent unpublished Eleventh Circuit opinions.
“These opinions are quite difficult to reconcile and, in their wake, it is very important for Florida practitioners to be both precise and specific when drafting forum-selection clauses,” said Weinstein, Managing Shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s Tampa office. “We appreciate the opportunity to share ‘lessons learned’ with our colleagues in The Florida Bar.”
Weinstein, who also serves as Chair of the firm’s Environmental & Toxic Torts Litigation Practice, has an active civil and white-collar litigation practice, with an emphasis on business, environmental, real estate, and health care matters.
Patch, Of Counsel in the Tampa office, concentrates his practice on complex commercial, environmental, and white-collar criminal litigation. In addition to his J.D. from Stanford Law School, where we was Executive Editor of the Stanford Law Review, Patch also has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Toronto.
Chelsae R. Johansen, an Associate in the Tampa office, was a contributing author of the award-winning article.