Choice-Of-Law Provisions Fraudulently Procured and Application of Florida Law In Such Settlement Agreements

In Mazzoni Farms, Inc. v. E.I. DuPont De Nemours & Co., 166 F.3d 1162 (11th Cir. 1999), the Eleventh Circuit recognized that although the choice-of-law provision would be enforceable under section 201 of the Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws ("Restatement"), no Florida court had considered section 201. See Mazzoni, 166 F.3d at 1164. Further, the court recognized that while Florida courts applied reasoning analogous to the Restatement's approach in construing arbitration clauses, those cases were distinguishable because of their reliance on federal policy favoring arbitration. See id. As a result, the Eleventh Circuit concluded that Mazzoni involved questions of state law for which there was no definitive controlling precedent. Accordingly, the Eleventh Circuit certified the relevant questions to this Court. See id. at 1165. Another panel of the Eleventh Circuit, acknowledging the prior Mazzoni certification, consolidated Foliage with Mazzoni, and certified the same questions. See Foliage, 172 F.3d at 1285. The questions as certified by the Eleventh Circuit are: (1) DOES a CHOICE-OF-LAW PROVISION IN a SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT CONTROL THE DISPOSITION OF a CLAIM THAT THE AGREEMENT WAS FRAUDULENTLY PROCURED, EVEN IF THERE IS NO ALLEGATION THAT THE CHOICE-OF-LAW PROVISION ITSELF WAS FRAUDULENTLY PROCURED? (2) IF FLORIDA LAW APPLIES, DOES THE RELEASE IN THESE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS BAR PLAINTIFFS' FRAUDULENT INDUCEMENT CLAIMS? Mazzoni, 166 F.3d at 1165; Foliage, 172 F.3d at 1287.