Civil Procedure- Venue-Effect of Contract Provision Fixing Venue as to Future Litigation

Defendants, residents of Harris County, Texas, executed in Harris County a conditional sale contract to purchase a food freezer from plaintiff’s assignor. One of the contract provisions was that any suit on the contract was to be tried in Travis County, Texas. Plaintiff subsequently brought an action on the contract in Travis County, and defendants, contrary to their agreement, requested the trial court to transfer the action to a court of proper jurisdiction in Harris County, which was the proper county for suit under the applicable venue statute. In response, plaintiff argued that, since the contract created an obligation performable in Travis County, the contract came within a statutory exception to the general venue rule and Travis County was the proper county in which to bring the suit. The trial court denied defendants’ motion and upheld the contract provision. On appeal, held, reversed. The contract provision specifying that any action brought on the contract is to be brought in Travis County is contrary to public policy and consequently void. Tilley v. Capital Nat’l Bank, 367 S.W.2d 359 (Tex. Civ. App. 1963).