METCO seeks enforcement of forum selection clause in dispute with DuPont

David Yates Nov. 3, 2010, 1:41pm

METCO Non-Destructive Testing Co. recently filed a motion to dismiss a suit brought by DuPont De Nemours, arguing that a forum selection clause between the two forces the case to be tried in Delaware.

After settling a lawsuit with a pair of chemical emissions detectors who, ironically enough, sued DuPont after being exposed to chemicals, DuPont turned and sued METCO, the company it hired to test its facility.

DuPont filed the suit against METCO Non-Destructive Testing Co. on June 19 in Jefferson County District Court, demanding the defendant repay it for having to settle with the METCO employees.

Court papers show that DuPont had settled with Christopher and Jacqueline Bertrand, employees of METCO, who claimed they inhaled harmful chemicals and suffered "orthopedic injuries while escaping the toxic" DuPont Beaumont Works plant.

DuPont settled with the couple on Jan. 19, agreeing to pay them $300,000 for their alleged damages. DuPont spent an additional $419,567.28 defending the suit.

After settling with the METCO employees, DuPont made a request to METCO and its insurer, Mid-Continent, to reimburse the company for the $719,567.28 spent on the Bertrand litigation, court papers say.

In its motion, filed Oct. 11, METCO argues DuPont agreed to a forum selection clause on Feb. 25, 2003, when the companies began doing business together.

"Because the parties contract provides that Delaware is the exclusive forum for this lawsuit, METCO respectfully requests that this court dismiss or abate this lawsuit so the parties can litigate in the forum they chose," the motion states.

DuPont accuses METCO of breach of contract, asserting the two parties had and "enforceable contract which required METCO to defend indemnify DuPont for claims being made by Christopher and Jacqueline Bertrand."

METCO is represented by Houston attorney Amir Alavi of Ahmad, Zavitsanos & Anaipakos.

DuPont is represented in part by M.C. Carrington of Mehaffy Weber in Beaumont.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, presiding.

Case No. E187-168

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