by
The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of Crazy Horse's motion to compel arbitration. In this case, Crazy Horse pursued a merits-based litigation strategy for three years and actively sought to obtain a favorable legal judgment. The court held that Crazy Horse's conduct was at odds with the Federal Arbitration Act's, 9 U.S.C. 1-16, goal of facilitating the expeditious settlement of disputes. The court explained that Crazy Horse did not seek to use arbitration as an efficient alternative to litigation. Rather, Crazy Horse used arbitration as an insurance policy in an attempt to give itself a second opportunity to evade liability. View "Degidio v. Crazy Horse Saloon and Restaurant" on Justia Law

by
An arbitration provision in a maritime insurance policy is enforceable despite law in the forum state assertedly precluding its application. This case concerned the scope of insurance coverage Galilea bought for its yacht. The Ninth Circuit held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 1-16, applied to the insurance policy but not the insurance application. In this case, the insurance application was not a contract, but the insurance policy was a contract subject to the FAA because the FAA constituted established federal maritime law for maritime transactions; federal maritime law was not precluded by Montana law under the McCarran-Ferguson Act, 15 U.S.C. 1012; and federal maritime law was not precluded by Montana law under M/S Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shore Co., 407 U.S. 1 (1972). The panel also held that the parties have delegated arbitrability issues to an arbitrator. Therefore, the panel affirmed the district court's order finding the policy's arbitration clause enforceable and affirmed the district court's order granting the Underwriters' motion to compel arbitration as to certain causes of action. The panel affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "Galilea, LLC v. AGCS Marine Insurance Co." on Justia Law

by
Appellate courts are not deprived of the jurisdiction conferred by 9 U.S.C. 16(a) when a vacatur order also remands for a new arbitration. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's vacatur of defendant's arbitration award. The panel held that it had jurisdiction in this appeal and that the arbitrator did not exceed his powers where his award was not completely irrational and did not exhibit manifest disregard of the law. Because the district court resolved the petition on only one of the several grounds for vacatur that plaintiff asserted, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Sanchez v. Elizondo" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs filed a putative class action alleging that VSI's practices violated state law and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Ninth Circuit held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider the district court's denial of VSI's motion to strike under California's anti-SLAPP statute, because under the terms of the state statute, such a denial in a case deemed to be filed in the public interest was not immediately appealable. The panel held that it did have jurisdiction over VSI's appeal of the district court's denial of its motion to compel arbitration and affirmed the denial because this was not a private contract subject to the provisions of the Federal Arbitration Act. The panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Breazeale v. Victim Services" on Justia Law

by
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision reversing the magistrate judge's grant of a motion to compel arbitration. In this case, plaintiff alleged violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 1 U.S.C. 15, and the Texas Free Enterprise and Antitrust Act. Defendants moved to compel arbitration pursuant to a clause in the parties' contract (the Dealer Agreement). The court held that, regardless of whether an agreement clearly and unmistakably delegates the question of arbitrability, defendants' arguments for arbitrability were wholly groundless. Therefore, this action was not subject to mandatory arbitration. The court need not reach the question of whether the third parties to the arbitration clause could enforce such an arbitration clause. View "Archer and White Sales, Inc. v. Henry Schein, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 7, does not grant arbitrators the power to compel the production of documents from third parties outside of a hearing. In this case, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of a petition to enforce a subpoena issued prehearing by an arbitration panel against a company that was not a party to the arbitration. View "Vividus, LLC v. Express Scripts, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Maine attorneys must obtain a client’s informed consent regarding the scope and effect of any contractual provision that prospectively requires the client to submit malpractice claims against those attorneys to arbitration. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court denying Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, P.A.’s (Bernstein) motion to compel arbitration in a legal malpractice claim filed against it. The superior court concluded that Bernstein failed to obtain informed consent from Susan Snow, its client, to submit malpractice claims to arbitration and that federal law does not preempt a rule requiring attorneys to obtain such informed consent from their clients. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the superior court did not err in concluding that (1) Bernstein’s failure to obtain informed consent from Snow regarding an arbitration provision rendered that provision unenforceable as contrary to public policy; and (2) the Federal Arbitration Act does not preempt a requirement that attorneys obtain informed consent from their clients before contracting to submit disputes to arbitration. View "Snow v. Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, P.A." on Justia Law

by
The trial court granted appellant ZB, N.A.'s (ZB) motion to arbitrate respondent Kalethia Lawson's wage and hour claim, which was brought under the provisions of the Private Attorneys General Act (the PAGA), Labor Code section 2698 et seq. The fact Lawson's PAGA claim, of necessity, included not only Labor Code violations committed with respect to her employment, but violations with respect to other employees, and that the arbitration ordered by the trial court included those violations, did not alter the fact the trial court ordered that Lawson's claim be arbitrated. The Court of Appeal held that an order granting a motion to arbitrate is not appealable, and it had no appellate jurisdiction over the trial court's order compelling arbitration. View "Lawson v. ZB, N.A." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff Simply Wireless, Inc. appealed a district court order dismissing its complaint against Defendants T-Mobile US, Inc. and T-Mobile USA, Inc. (collectively, “T-Mobile”). Upon determining that the parties’ business relationship was governed by a written agreement containing a mandatory arbitration clause, the district court went on to determine that the scope of that arbitration clause included all of Simply Wireless’s claims against T-Mobile. After review, the Fourth Circuit concluded the district court erred in determining the scope of the parties’ arbitration clause, as the parties "clearly and unmistakably" intended for an arbitrator to resolve all arbitrability disputes. Nonetheless, because the parties intended for an arbitrator to resolve all arbitrability disputes, the district court’s ultimate dismissal of Simply Wireless’s complaint in favor of arbitration was proper. Accordingly, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal, but on alternate grounds. View "Simply Wireless, Inc. v. T-Mobile US, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court compelling arbitration and its judgment confirming the arbitration award. A few months after beginning work for Home Savings of America (HSOA), Plaintiff signed an employment agreement containing a provision that required the parties to submit any disputes to binding arbitration. After HSOA terminated Plaintiff’s employment, Plaintiff sued HSOA, its CEO and Board chair Dirk Adams, and Home Savings Bancorp (HSBC), which owned all of HSOA’s stock, alleging breach of contract, wrongful discharge, and fraud. The district court ordered the parties to proceed to binding arbitration. The arbitrator issued an award in favor of HSBC and Adams. The district court confirmed the award. The Supreme Court affirmed both orders, holding (1) the parties had a valid agreement to arbitrate, and therefore, the district court properly referred Plaintiff’s claims to arbitration; and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in confirming the arbitration award because the court had jurisdiction to hear Plaintiff’s motion to vacate the arbitration award, and the arbitrator did not manifestly disregard the law. View "Tedesco v. Home Savings Bancorp, Inc." on Justia Law