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Winner: Steiner Transocean Limited – No. 3D12-2390
What happened: Efremova signs an employment contract with Steiner in September 2008. In December 2008, Efremova suffers injuries while employed as a hairstylist aboard a Carnival cruise ship. She sues Steiner in Miami-Dade circuit court, but does not file a copy of her employment contract. Steiner moves to dismiss the suit and attaches a copy of the employment contract. Steiner claims that Efremova was required, by the “mandatory forum selection clause” in her contract, to file the suit in federal court. Efremova argues that the “four corners” rule prevents the trial court from considering the clause because she did not attach the contract to the complaint she filed. The trial court agrees with Efremova and Steiner appeals.
Conclusion: Because a motion to dismiss based on a contractual forum selection clause is similar to a motion to dismiss for improper venue, the trial court was permitted to consider the contract as an exception to the “four corners” rule.