Appeals Court Finds Defendants in Case Dismissed in California Due to Forum Selection Clause Not Entitled to Attorney FeesA California appellate court has upheld a trial court’s ruling that defendants in a California case that was dismissed due to a forum selection clause and moved to Florida for resolution are not entitled to attorney fees in the matter.

In, LLC v., plaintiff is a provider of credit repair software and services that had contracted with Scoreinc to serve as a licensed reseller of DisputeSuite software. The contract included a forum selection clause naming Florida as the venue for dispute resolution. Upon execution of the contract, DisputeSuite provided Scoreinc with a confidential list of its customers as well as other proprietary information.

Subsequently, DisputeSuite sued defendant in Los Angeles Superior Court for breach of contract, interference with contract, misappropriation of trade secrets and fraud. DisputeSuite sought and received a temporary restraining order barring the defendant from transferring any customers referred to them by DisputeSuite to any entity that did not use DisputeSuite software and from making commercial use of that software.

Scoreinc moved to dismiss the suit based on the Florida forum selection clause. A California trial court stayed the case for 60 days, extending the preliminary injunction so plaintiff could seek injunctive relief in Florida. Once DisputeSuite filed suit in Florida, the trial court dismissed the case and dissolved the preliminary injunction.

As the prevailing party in the motion to dismiss, Scoreinc sought to recover $84,640 in attorney fees. The trial court denied the motion and the California Second Appellate District affirmed, finding that because there had been no final resolution of the claims, a prevailing party determination could not be made.

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