Martin v. Deere & Company - Enforcing Forum Selection Clauses

The Iowa Court of Appeals today revisited the distinction between a mandatory and permissive forum selection clause. In the case of Martin et al. v. Deere & Company, et al., the plaintiff brought suit in Iowa asserting various causes of action, including fraud, misrepresentation, and breach of contract. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss asserting the enforceability of a forum selection clause in a loan note between the parties, which provided for lawsuits to be brought in Illinois.

The Iowa Court of Appeals quoted the language of the forum selection clause which provided that an action may be brought in Illinois and that the parties submit to the “non-exclusive jurisdiction” of the courts in Illinois. The Iowa Court of Appeals reversed the district court's dismissal of the action. The Iowa Court of Appeals found that the permissive and non-exclusive forum selection clause did not preclude a plaintiff from bringing a claim in Iowa.

A copy of the Court’s decision may be found here: