Shelter Mutual Insurance Co. v. Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc.Annotate this Case
Shelter Mutual Property Insurance Company retained Rimkus Consulting Group, Inc. to provide an engineering evaluation and expert witness services in connection with its defense of litigation resulting from a claim for hurricane damages brought by a corporation insured by Shelter. Rimkus sent Shelter a letter confirming the engagement and indicating Rimkus' services were subject to “Terms and Conditions” attached to the letter. The “Terms and Conditions” included a forum selection clause which required venue for any suits arising out of the contract to be in Harris County, Texas. When a dispute arose, Shelter filed suit against Rimkus in the 15th Judicial District Court for the Parish of Lafayette. Rimkus filed an exception of improper venue, arguing the forum selection clause included in its “Terms and Conditions” required suit to be brought in Texas. Shelter opposed the exception, arguing it never agreed to the unilateral “Terms and Conditions” and thus they were not part of the agreement between the parties.The Louisiana Supreme Court granted this writ application to resolve a split in the circuit courts of appeal regarding whether forum selection clauses were per se violative of public policy in Louisiana. Answering that question in the negative, it reversed the rulings of the lower courts.