Contact us with your California corporate & securities law questions (949) 353-6347 or Contact us here

Can Parties Choose Venue in California?

In prior posts, I discussed two unusual California statutes relating to choice-of-law and choice-of-forum provisions in agreements.  Choice-of-forum provisions are often confused with choice-of-venue provisions.  A choice of forum relates to the place of jurisdiction (e.g., California, Delaware or Nevada) whereas a choice of venue refers to the place or geographic location of trial (e.g., the County of Orange or the City of San Diego).  Surprisingly, the California Supreme Court long ago held that venue selection provisions are void.  General Acceptance Corp. v. Robinson 207 Cal. 285, 289 (1929).  More recently, the Courts of Appeal have followed this holding.  See, e.g., Alexander v. Superior Court  114 Cal.App.4th 723 (2003) and Arntz Builders v. Superior Court, 122 Cal. App. 4th 1195 (2004). 

One may question why the California courts would refuse to honor the parties' agreement as to venue.  The Court of Appeal in Alexander gave the following answer: 

“The concern with selecting venue is that parties will disrupt the statutory scheme and bring the administration of justice into disrepute in order to have their cause heard where they believe it will be received most sympathetically. But it is not for the parties or the courts to set venue. That is the role of the Legislature.”

 114 Cal.App.4th at 731. 

What if the parties agree on a venue that is one of several permissible venues under California's venue statutes?  The Court of Appeal in Arntz allowed that "there is some logic to the contention that the parties should be able to agree among statutorily permissible counties".  However, the Court declined to decide the question.  Stay tuned.

Share on:

ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING CALIFORNIA CORPORATE AND SECURITIES LAW? CONTACT US DIRECTLY

We offer expert advice with the intricacies of California law.

Our years of experience and expertise allow us to help clients navigate the business laws in California.

CONTACT US

Get the latest news and analysis about California Corporate & Securities law. Subscribe to our newsletter today!

We respect your email privacy

ABOUT OUR AUTHOR

30172DBAB0084D3A8F39D7AF0A8E79BC.ashx Keith Paul Bishop
Partner at Allen Matkins
(949) 353-6328
 Contact me
Learn More About Keith

RECOGNITION

NationalLawReview

JDSupra 2018

nominee-badge

Get the latest news and analysis about California Corporate & Securities law. Subscribe to our newsletter today!

We respect your email privacy

CATEGORIES

see all

YOUTUBE

FACEBOOK