Club Mediterranee, S.A. v. Fitzpatrick, ___ So. 3d ___, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D500 (Fla. 3d DCA February 25, 2015)
The plaintiff, who was employed by Club Med as a costume designer, was sexually assaulted while asleep in her employer provided dormitory room in the Bahamas. When the plaintiff brought an action for premises liability and negligence in Florida, Club Med moved to compel arbitration or to dismiss based upon forum non conveniens. The trial court denied both motions, but the appellate court reversed in part. The arbitration agreement applied to any claim or controversy arising out of the plaintiff’s employment. Arbitration agreements may be narrow or broad in scope. Narrow agreements arise out of the contract. Broad agreements arise out of or relate to the contract. The agreement in this case was narrow and did not extend to the plaintiff’s claims because of the absence of a “nexus between the terms and provisions of th[e] agreement and the assault on [the plaintiff].” As a result, the order denying the motion to compel arbitration was affirmed. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss because the agreement between the parties provided that “any arbitration would be conducted in Miami, Florida.” The trial court erred by concluding that this forum selection clause waived the defendants’ “forum non conveniens challenge” and, thus, “[giving] only perfunctory consideration to the Kinney factors.” As a result, the appellate court reversed and remanded for reconsideration of the motion to dismiss based upon Kinney System, Inc. v. Continental Insurance Company, 674 So. 2d 86, (Fla. 1996).
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