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Legal scholars should not do this to first year students

As part of our reading for tomorrow, we're reading Linda S. Mullenix's Another Easy Case, Some More Bad Law: Carnival Cruise Lines and Contractual Personal Jurisdiction (Texas International Law Journal, Spring, 1992), a rather histrionic account of the Supreme Court's decision in Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Shute 499 U.S. 585 (1991). At first reading, I stumbled over the following passage:

The Shutes had once again prevailed in their efforts to sue Carnival Cruise Lines locally, rather than being haled to Florida.

I did a bit of a double-take, but then figured that maybe it was an ambiguous clause: Carnival was a Panamanian corporation, and so even though its main place of business (and preferred jurisdiction) was Florida, maybe it could still be haled there. But then it happened again:
While it is interesting and true that ships travel to many ports of call, and that their corporate owners have an interest in not being subjected to litigation in multiple forums, these self-evident truths do not suggest why it is any better or fairer to force an injured plaintiff to be haled into some distant court of the defendant's pre-arranged choosing, or forego the right to sue altogether.

[emphasis mine in both quotations]

Have I completely missed the point of several weeks of civil procedure? I was under the impression that a plaintiff (through a complaint) haled the defendant into court, and that a defendant wasn't the one doing the haling. Maybe a forum-selection clause could limit the places in which a plaintiff could summon, but he can't be forced to bring a suit, can he? I thought the whole point of this jurisdiction stuff was that the defendant was the only person being forced to go anywhere, and that jurisdiction was the limitations of his choice.

Mullenix is pretty overwrought in her language, so this might just be another example thereof--but can one of you fill me in if I'm missing something?

Update: Someone tell me this is another howler: "The burdens placed by a state upon an absent plaintiff are similar to and of he same magnitude as those it places on an absent defendant. Where an out-of-state plaintiff is summoned by a defendant through a non-negotiated, nonconsensual forum selection clause, the plaintiff is faced with the full powers of the State to render a judgment against it." True, she's reversing the language of a Supreme Court ruling, but she then states, "This paragraph does not stretch the imagination."

Help! I'm lost!


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I feel your pain. The entire time I was reading the article I was wondering, what about defendant's rights? Who cares if the Plaintiff is slightly inconvienced.
I don't remember the facts, but didn't the plaintiffs have to go to Florida to embark on their cruise? You would think that if they took to trouble to do so, they could also take the effort to read the contract as well and follow the forum selection clause and litigate in Florida.
Doing that case in CivPro right now (in Florida no less). Personal jurisdiction v. Removal...fun stuff
David: No, IIRC, the cruise left and returned from California, although most of Carnivals cruises were Florida-based.
The plaintiffs would have been haled into court in FL because the cruise contract they signed stipulated that all lawsuits be litigated in FL. So if the plaintiffs want to sue, the contract "hales" them into FL.
Yes, it's those quotes I'm objecting to. First of all, they don't appear in the article, nor is there any indication that 'hale' is being used in less than the strict sense. 'Hale' means to summon, and that generally implies the threat of force. But in an adversary system, the big difference between the plaintiff and the defendant is that the plaintiff gets the choice of whether to sue at all. Their choice of jurisdiction is limited by a forum-selection clause, but it's limited by Due Process as well--there's nothing inherently wrong about limiting forum selection, and it's not the same as 'haling.' The plaintiff has the option to sue--the defendant does not have the option, and must take up the case.
The whole point is that they are "haled" to Florida on pain of giving up their right to sue - they are not summoned in the sense of being called in by the defendants, but they are summoned to Florida in the sense that Florida courts are the only place they have any sort of legal remedy. I won't get into the (un)conscionability of adhesion contracts . . . suffice it to say that they are pretty screwed unless they can afford to travel a lot.
But isn't the entire point of jurisdiction that it limits the plaintiff's right to sue? In the same sense, rules on venue prevent the plaintiffs from suing in Washington, even though the court nearest and most convenient to them might be (assuming they live close to the border) in that state. Presuming that to be the case, would the rules on venue 'hale' them to their local district? Having a single court and location in which to try one's case isn't the same as being summoned to court, which is the equivalence that the article is trying to make. They're no more 'summoned' to court than I'm 'haled' to breakfast if some kind soul invites me to Sunday brunch.
You are right. The language is just imprecise, although I think you have picked up on the basic point.
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