Justia Arbitration & Mediation Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Oracle America, Inc. v. Myriad Group A.G.
This case stemmed from a dispute between the parties over license agreements which allowed Myriad access to Oracle's Java programming language. On appeal, Myriad challenged the district court's partial denial of its motion to compel arbitration. The court concluded that the incorporation of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) arbitration rules into the parties' commercial contract constituted clear and unmistakable evidence that the parties agreed to arbitrate arbitrability. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Oracle America, Inc. v. Myriad Group A.G." on Justia Law
Mortensen, et al. v. Bresnan Communications, LLC
Plaintiffs brought a putative class action against Bresnan alleging violations of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. 2520-21, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. 1030, and Montana state law for invasion of privacy and trespass to chattels in connection with targeted advertising they received while using Bresnan's Internet service. The district court declined to enforce a choice-of-law clause in the service subscriber agreement, provided to all Bresnan customers, specifying that New York law should apply, and an arbitration clause. The court held that AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion further limited the savings clause in the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 1-2 et seq., and therefore, the court held that the FAA preempted Montana's reasonable expectations/fundamental rights rule and that the district court erred in not applying New York law because a state's preempted public policy was an impermissible basis on which to reject the parties' choice-of-law selection. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's denial of Bresnan's motion to compel arbitration and remanded to the district court with instructions to apply New York law to the arbitration agreement. View "Mortensen, et al. v. Bresnan Communications, LLC" on Justia Law
American President Lines, Ltd. v. ILWU
This case arose from a dispute between the parties over who could claim certain longshore work handling cargo at the Port of Seward, Alaska. At issue on appeal was whether Section 303 of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), 29 U.S.C. 187, permitted an action challenging the union's conduct at the arbitration when plaintiff had admittedly failed to challenge the arbitration award itself in court under Section 301 of the LMRA. The court reversed the district court's dismissal for lack of statutory standing because nothing in section 303 precluded plaintiffs to first exhaust a petition to vacate the arbitration award before they could claim section 303's remedy. Nothing in section 303 barred an employer - whether primary or neutral - from seeking compensatory damages for a union's alleged unfair labor practice, even if that practice occurred during arbitration. View "American President Lines, Ltd. v. ILWU" on Justia Law
Rajagopalan v. NoteWorld, LLC
Plaintiff filed a class action complaint against NoteWorld alleging, among other things, violations under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1961 et seq., and Washington state law. At issue on appeal was whether an entity could compel arbitration on the basis of an arbitration clause in a contract to which it was not a party. The court concluded that the district court correctly concluded that NoteWorld was not entitled to invoke the arbitration clause as a third-party beneficiary or through equitable estoppel. Accordingly, the court need not decide any other question on appeal and affirmed the judgment. View "Rajagopalan v. NoteWorld, LLC" on Justia Law
Matthews v. Nat’l Football League Mgmt. Council
Plaintiff played professional football for nineteen years. When he retired in 2002, he was employed by the Tennessee Titans. In 2008, he filed a workers' compensation claim in California, alleging that he suffered pain and disability from injuries incurred during his career. Plaintiff asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate an arbitration award that prohibited him from pursuing workers' compensation benefits under California law, arguing (1) the award violated California public policy and federal labor policy, and (2) the award was in disregard of the Full Faith and Credit Clause. The district court confirmed the arbitration award. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff did not allege sufficient contacts with California to show his workers' compensation claim came within the scope of California's workers' compensation regime, and therefore, he did not establish that the arbitration award violated California public policy; (2) because Plaintiff did not show that the award deprived him of something to which he was entitled under state law, he did not show it violated federal labor policy; and (3) Plaintiff did not establish that the arbitrator manifestly disregarded the Full Faith and Credit Clause. View "Matthews v. Nat'l Football League Mgmt. Council " on Justia Law
Coneff, et al. v. AT&T Corp, et al.
Plaintiffs, current and former customers of AT&T, filed a class action against AT&T, alleging unjust enrichment and and breach of contract. AT&T responded by seeking to enforce an arbitration agreement contained in its contracts with plaintiffs. The district court refused to enforce the arbitration agreement on state-law unconscionability grounds, relying primarily on the agreement's class-action waiver provision. The court reversed the district court's substantive unconscionability ruling where the FAA preempted the Washington state law invalidating the class-action waiver. The court remanded for further proceedings related to plaintiffs' procedural unconscionability claims for the district court to apply Washington choice-of-law rules. View "Coneff, et al. v. AT&T Corp, et al." on Justia Law
Kilgore, et al. v. Keybank, et al.
Plaintiffs brought this putative class action against KeyBank, alleging violations of California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17200, in connection with private student loans that KeyBank extended to plaintiffs. The court concluded that (1) the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) 9 U.S.C. 1 et seq., preempted the Broughton-Cruz rule and (2) the arbitration clause in the parties' contracts must be enforced because it was not unconscionable. Therefore, the court did not reach the question, presented in Appeal No. 10-15934, whether the NBA and the regulations of the OCC preempted plaintiffs' UCL claims. Accordingly, in Interlocutory Appeal No. 09-16703, the court reversed the district court's denial of KeyBank's motion to compel arbitration, vacated the judgment, and remanded to the district court with instructions to enter an order staying the case and compelling arbitration. Because the disposition of that appeal rendered the district court's subsequent dismissal order a nullity, the court dismissed Appeal No. 10-15934 as moot. View "Kilgore, et al. v. Keybank, et al." on Justia Law
Biller v. Toyota Motor Corp., et al.
Plaintiff, the former in-house counsel for Toyota Motor Corp. (TMS), presented TMS with a claim asserting, inter alia, constructive wrongful discharge related to TMS's alleged unethical discovery practices. TMS and plaintiff settled the claims and entered into a Severance Agreement. TMS subsequently sued in state superior court seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) and permanent injunctive relieve to prevent plaintiff from violating the attorney-client privilege and plaintiff filed a cross complaint for a TRO and a permanent injunction prohibiting TMS from interfering with his business practices and those of his consulting business. The court held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 1 et seq., governed the Severance Agreement; the FAA authorized limited review of the Final Award; and the arbitrator did not manifestly disregard the law governing the Severance Agreement where the arbitrator's writing was sufficient under the terms of the Severance Agreement and the arbitrator did not manifestly disregard California law in addressing plaintiff's affirmative defenses. The court also held that the district court did not err in denying plaintiff's contempt motion. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed. View "Biller v. Toyota Motor Corp., et al." on Justia Law
Sauer v. U.S. Dept. of Education, etc.
This case involved the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act, 20 U.S.C. 107, which established a cooperative program between the federal government and the states to assist blind persons who wish to operate vending facilities on federal property. The California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) and the U.S. Department of Education appealed from the district court's decision enforcing a 2008 arbitration award issued pursuant section 107d-1(a) of the Act. At issue was whether the 2008 arbitration panel exceeded its authority under the Act when it ruled that DOR had a statutory obligation to sue the General Services Administration (GSA) for its failure to comply with the 2000 Arbitration Award, and therefore was liable for damages in favor of a blind vendor when it failed to do so. Based on the plain language of the Act and other guides to statutory construction, the court concluded that the Act did not impose a statutory obligation on a state licensing agency to sue a federal agency for its failure to comply with a Randolph-Sheppard arbitration award. The 2008 arbitration panel therefore committed a legal error when it interpreted the Act as requiring DOR to bring an action against GSA, and that DOR's failure to do so made it liable for compensatory damages. Because DOR had no statutory obligation to sue GSA to enforce the 2000 Arbitration Award, the 2008 arbitration panel's ruling that DOR became liable for the damages against GSA by failing to bring such an enforcement action was "not in accordance with law" and must be set aside. View "Sauer v. U.S. Dept. of Education, etc." on Justia Law
Continental Ins. Co. v. Thorpe Insulation Co.
This appeal involved Continental's pursuit of a breach of contract claim against Thorpe in Thorpe's Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding. The district court affirmed the bankruptcy court's order denying Continental's motion to compel arbitration and disallowing its claim. The court held that the bankruptcy court had discretion not to enforce the arbitration clause at issue and that the bankruptcy court did not abuse its discretion in denying Continental's motion to compel arbitration. The court also held that the bankruptcy court did not abuse its discretion in declining to give Continental further opportunity for discovery and Thorpe could not contract away its right to avail itself of the protections of 524(g) of the Bankruptcy Code. Accordingly, the lower courts correctly disallowed Continental's claim. View "Continental Ins. Co. v. Thorpe Insulation Co." on Justia Law