A panel of the Fourth Circuit joined sister circuits today in holding that courts "of" a state differ in a basic way from courts "in" the state.
A contract clause that speaks of the courts "of" the Commonwealth of Virginia means Virginia state courts and Virginia state courts only, the panel ruled; courts "of" a state do not include federal courts that merely sit "in" the state. FindWhere Holdings, Inc. v. Systems Environment Optimization, LLC, No. 09-2155 (4th Cir. Nov. 29, 2010).
The panel affirmed remand of the case to the Commonwealth court from which it came on the strength of the parties' forum selection clause.
No doubt it mattered that the case didn't involve claims over which federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction (e.g., patent, copyright, Sherman Act).