Intrastate Forum Shopping Abuse Reform Act Exposed

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The Intrastate Forum Shopping Abuse Reform Act was adopted by ALEC's Civil Justice Task Force at the Annual Meeting on August 8, 2002, approved by the full ALEC Board of Directors in September, 2002. According to, the Act was re-approved by the Board of Directors on January 28, 2013. (Accessed June 2, 2016).

CMD's Bill Summary

This "model" bill attempts to limit the places an injured American can file suit against a corporation (indicated in the language about defendants that are not "natural persons"). It also tries to limit suits by multiple plaintiffs joining their claims against a corporation together unless the plaintiffs live in the same county, even if they want to have their claims joined for the resolution in the case. It claims to protect the interests of other county residents in getting their cases heard in court, but does not leave such a determination to local democratic decision-making by residents of the county purportedly affected. It also tries to limit a county court from exercising jurisdiction in a case involving an injured American if the corporation does not have an office or representative in the county, even if the corporation does business there.

ALEC Bill Text


Forum shopping has become a significant problem in civil litigation. Certain counties have become magnets for attracting claims with little or no connection to that county. The burdens placed on these magnets courts are unfair to the residents of those counties, who are forced to wait in line behind claims that would more appropriately be heard elsewhere. For residents of those counties, justice delayed is justice denied. Venue rules exist to ensure that claims are brought in the proper county within a state. This legislation will reform existing venue rules to ensure that claims have a direct relationship with the county in which they are filed.

Model Legislation

Section 1. {Title}

This Act shall be called and may be cited as the “[Intrastate Forum Shopping Abuse Reform Act]”.

Section 2. {Venue}

[Section _____ ] shall be amended to read as follows:

A.) A claim in tort or alleging personal injury or death shall be brought in either:

(1) the county where the plaintiff resides,
(2) the county where all or a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred, or
a. if the defendant is a natural person, the county where the defendant resides,
b. if the defendant is not a natural person, the county where the defendant’s principal office in this state is located, or
c. if the defendant does not maintain an office in this state, the county where the defendant’s agent for service of process is located.

B.) In actions involving multiple plaintiffs, venue must be proper as to each plaintiff independently joined or consolidated in the action. Any person who is unable to establish proper venue may not be joined or consolidated in the case unless the plaintiff establishes that:

(1) joinder or intervention is proper under the [State] Rules of Civil Procedure;
(2) maintaining venue in the county of the suit does not unfairly prejudice another party to the suit;
(3) there is an essential need to have the person’s claim tried in the county where the suit is pending; and
(4) the county in which the suit is pending is a fair and convenient venue for the person seeking to join in or maintain venue for the suit and the persons against whom the suit is brought.

Section 3. {Repealer clause.}

Section 4. {Effective date.}