Articles Posted in U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

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Plaintiffs, five retail grocers, each attempting to bring class-action antitrust claims against one of two wholesale grocers, appealed the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiffs claims from the putative class action. The court held that the non-signatory defendants could not use equitable estoppel to compel arbitration of plaintiffs' claims. Since the district court found the equitable estoppel issue dispositive, it did not address the successor-in-interest argument and therefore, the court remanded for the district court to consider this argument in the first instance. The court concluded that the remaining public policy arguments were moot or the court declined to issue an advisory opinion. View "King Cole Foods, Inc., et al v. SuperValu, Inc., et al" on Justia Law

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Bristol Care appealed the denial of its motion to compel arbitration in a suit initiated by its former employee asserting claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq., and seeking class action certification. Given the absence of any contrary congressional command from the FLSA that a right to engage in class actions overrides the mandate of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 3-4, in favor of arbitration, the court held that arbitration agreements containing class waivers were enforceable in claims brought under the FLSA. Because the court concluded that the Mandatory Arbitration Agreement (MAA) signed by the employee and Bristol Care was enforceable, the court reversed the district court's decision and directed the district court to enter an order granting Bristol Care's motion to stay proceedings and compel arbitration. View "Owen v. Bristol Care, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, thirty-five children living near a smelting facility in Peru, alleged that environmental contamination injured them. Plaintiffs claimed that contamination was caused by the owners and operators of the facility. Defendants' associate, Renco, is currently arbitrating related claims with Peru. Defendants moved to stay the proceedings pending the outcome of the arbitration. The court held that the issues in the arbitration could conceivably affect the outcome of this case and the case was properly removed under 9 U.S.C. 205 and that the court did not have pendant appellate jurisdiction over defendants' discretionary-stay claim. The court also held that the issues in this case relate to the arbitration but were not referable to arbitration. Accordingly, the district court properly denied a mandatory stay under 9 U.S.C. 3. View "Sr. Kate Reid, et al v. Doe Run Resources Corp., et al" on Justia Law

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West commenced this diversity action to recover expenses incurred in defending Miller in a garnishment action, asserting tort claims under Missouri law against RLI for vexatious refusal to pay, bad faith refusal to pay, and prima facie tort, and claims of negligence and negligent misrepresentations against RLI's independent claims agent, ASCK. West also sought a declaration that it owed no duty to protect RLI in the underlying arbitration. RLI counter claimed, alleging that, prior to the arbitration, West negligently and in bad faith refused to settle the underlying claims for less than its policy limits. West's response added claims for indemnification and contribution against ASCK. The court reversed the grant of summary judgment dismissing RLI's refusal-to-settle counterclaim and remanded for further proceedings. The court declined to review the district court's grant of summary judgment dismissing West's affirmative defenses to the counterclaim. In all other respects, the court affirmed the district court's orders and judgment. View "West American Ins. Co. v. RLI Ins. Co., et al" on Justia Law

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The Union attempted to commence arbitration of a terminated employee's grievance. Before arbitration proceedings commenced, the employee died, and the employer refused to proceed with arbitration. The Union brought this suit to compel arbitration. The district court found that the employer did not agree to arbitrate claims of a deceased employee and dismissed the case. The court reversed and held that the parties agreed to mandatory arbitration of the employee's claim and no legal principal deprived the Union of power to enforce that agreement. View "Sheet Metal Workers, etc. v. Silgan Containers, etc." on Justia Law

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Two individuals brought suit as individuals and on behalf of a putative class of investors, alleging that Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. (Stifel) and two of its employees, Neil Harrison and Roger Compton, violated federal securities law. Stifel and Compton (Defendants) filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PSLRA). The district court concluded that Plaintiffs' allegations failed to satisfy the requirements for class action claims under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3) and dismissed Plaintiffs' compliant with prejudice. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (1) reversed the district court's order with respect to Plaintiffs' individual claims, holding the district court erred in dismissing the claims without either staying the claims pending arbitration or undertaking an analysis of the claims under the PSLRA; and (2) affirmed the district court's order as it applied to Plaintiffs' class claims, holding that the court correctly determined that the complained failed to state viable class claims under Rule 23. Remanded. View "McCrary v. Stifel, Nicolaus & Co." on Justia Law

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Alpine Glass, Inc. appealed the district court's partial denial of Alpine's motion to consolidate 482 short-pay claims for arbitration against the Country Mutual Insurance Co. and five of its subsidiaries. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Alpine's appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction, holding (1) the Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal under 28 U.S.C. 1291 because the district court's order was not a final order; and (2) the denial of a motion to consolidate arbitrations does not imperil a substantial public interest sufficient to warrant jurisdiction under the collateral order doctrine, and therefore, the order was not appealable under the collateral order doctrine. View "Alpine Glass, Inc. v. Country Mut. Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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Art Etc., LLC sought a declaratory judgment that the sale of inventory purchased from Angel Gifts, Inc. and Donald Schmit would amount to copyright infringement in violation of the United States Copyright Act. Angel Gifts and Donald Schmit moved to stay the proceedings pending arbitration, invoking an arbitration provision in an agreement between the parties. The district court denied the motion. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) the parties intended for the arbitration provision to apply only under certain circumstances; and (2) Art. Etc.'s claims did not fall within the scope of the arbitration provision. Thus, arbitration in this case was not required. View "Art Etc. LLC v. Angel Gifts, Inc." on Justia Law

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Appellant initiated an arbitration against his former investment advisor, Fisher Investments, Inc. During the arbitration, the arbitrator (1) dismissed Appellant's Missouri statutory claims based on the arbitration agreement's Delaware choice-of-law provision, and (2) sua sponte prohibited Appellant from adding a federal securities law claim. Appellant then filed a civil action against Fisher Investments in federal district court, re-alleging the Missouri statutory and federal securities law claims and seeking a declaration that the arbitration agreement was void. The district court dismissed Appellant's claims without prejudice, concluding that Defendant had to complete arbitration before he could pursue remedies in federal court. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) Appellant was challenging an interim ruling and thus the complete arbitration rule applied, and (2) because the complete arbitration rule applied, the district court did not err in deciding that it did not have jurisdiction to adjudicate Defendant's claims. View "Wootten v. Fisher Invs., Inc." on Justia Law

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Local 36 obtained an arbitration award against Whitney d/b/a Whitney Industrial, a non-signatory to any collective bargaining agreement, under an alter-ego theory. Whitney appealed the district court's order enforcing the arbitration award. The court held that a non-signatory to an arbitration agreement need not participate in the arbitration while expressly reserving jurisdictional questions, file a preemptive declaratory judgment action, notify the arbitrator of its refusal to participate, or timely initiate a court action to vacate the arbitrator's award in order to have "the question of whether the parties agreed to arbitrate . . . decided by the court, not the arbitrator." Accordingly, the court agreed with Whitney that the joint adjustment board had no authority to determine whether his new company was the alter ego of Whitney Mechanical, and thus, bound by the collective bargaining agreement. Accordingly, the court vacated the judgment and remanded. View "Local 36 Sheet Metal Workers' Int'l Assoc. v. Whitney" on Justia Law