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Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Shute

United States Supreme Court
499 U.S. 585 (1991)



Eulala and Russel Shute (plaintiffs) purchased tickets through a travel agent in Washington state for a cruise operated by Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. (Carnival) (defendant). Only after purchasing their tickets from the travel agent did the Shutes receive paper tickets containing a form contract with a forum selection clause requiring all disputes to be brought in Florida. The form contract was comparable to form ticket contracts used by other cruise lines. The face of the ticket warned that passage was subject to acceptance of the terms of the ticket contract and the Shutes admitted having been made aware of the forum selection clause. The ticket contract also contained a provision that no refunds were available for the tickets once purchased. While on the cruise in international waters, Mrs. Shute fell during a tour of the ship and the Shutes sued Carnival for damages in District Court in Washington. Carnival moved to dismiss citing the forum selection clause, and asserted a lack of personal jurisdiction in Washington. The District Court granted the motion finding insufficient contacts for personal jurisdiction in Washington. The Court of Appeals reversed, finding sufficient contacts with the state of Washington and refused to enforce the forum selection clause. Carnival appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Blackmun, J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J)

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