Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

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Chase petitioned for writ of mandamus after the district court conditionally certified a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective action and directed that approximately 42,000 current and former Chase employees receive notice of the litigation. Chase claimed that arbitration agreements waived most of the employees' right to proceed collectively against Chase and that those agreements were enforceable under their terms. The Fifth Circuit denied the petition and held that, although Chase has shown that the issue presented was irremediable on ordinary appeal and that the writ of mandamus was appropriate under the circumstances, Chase has not shown a clear and indisputable right to the writ. The court held, however, that the district court erred by ordering that notice be sent to employees who signed arbitration agreements and by requiring Chase to provide personal contact information for the Arbitration Employees. Therefore, the court continued the stay of the district court's December 10, 2018, order for thirty days to give the court full opportunity to reconsider that order. View "In Re: JPMorgan Chase & Co." on Justia Law

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Forby filed a state court class action against Tech for violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (ICFA) and unjust enrichment under Illinois law. In its notice of removal, Tech did not reference arbitration but argued that Forby’s claims were baseless and that no class should be certified. Tech later moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim and, in the alternative, moved to transfer the case, arguing that Forby’s claims were subject to arbitration in Texas and that an Illinois district court could not compel arbitration outside of its district. After the case was transferred, Tech filed a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss that did not mention arbitration. In its reply to Forby’s response, Tech again did not mention compelling arbitration. The district court denied the motion with respect to Forby’s ICFA claim and dismissed the unjust enrichment claim. Four days after attending a Rule 26(f) conference and receiving Forby’s requests for production, Tech filed its motion to compel arbitration and an expedited motion to stay discovery. The court granted the motions, finding that Tech had substantially invoked the judicial process but that Forby had not suffered prejudice. The Fifth Circuit reversed. When a party will have to re-litigate in the arbitration forum an issue already decided by the district court in its favor, that party is prejudiced. View "Forby v. One Technologies, L.P." on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a class action filed by plaintiff, alleging claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The court held that the district court's dismissal without prejudice supported appellate jurisdiction. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing the case for want of prosecution in response to plaintiff's disobedience to its prior order compelling arbitration. View "Griggs v. S.G.E. Management" on Justia Law

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This appeal stemmed from the parties' dispute over Lone Star's proposed adjustments to a Revenue Calculation that provided payment to Sunbelt. The arbitrator agreed with Lone Star's upward judgment to the revenue attributable to its former customers, but reformed the contract after concluding that the parties had made a mutual mistake when their agreement listed the revenue target for the former Lone Star clients. The court affirmed and remanded for reconsideration of the mutual mistake claim. The court held that, because the parties did not agree in either the asset purchase agreement or the engagement letter to have the arbitrator decide reformation, the court must decide the issue. View "Hebbronville Lone Star Rentals, LLC v. Sunbelt Rentals Industrial Services, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit granted TKM's, the intervenor plaintiff, motion for panel rehearing and denied the motion for rehearing en banc. The court withdrew the prior opinion and substituted the following opinion. Daewoo filed suit against AMT, seeking an order compelling AMT to arbitrate and an attachment of pig iron owned by AMT. TKM attached the same pig iron in Louisiana state court and then intervened in the federal suit. The court held that it had subject matter jurisdiction under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, because Daewoo's suit related to a covered arbitration agreement. In this case, the parties dispute whether Louisiana's non-resident attachment statute allowed for attachment in aid of arbitration. The court declined to adopt a categorical approach to this issue and held that, because Louisiana law allowed for attachment in aid of yet-to-be-brought actions, non-resident attachment may be available in aid of arbitration when an eventual confirmation suit was contemplated. The court affirmed the district court's judgment, nonetheless, because Daewoo did not strictly comply with the attachment statute's procedural requirements. View "Stemcor USA Inc. v. Cia Siderurgica do Para Cosipar" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's judgment compelling arbitration in an action brought by a former employee of Ref-Chem. The court held that the express language of the agreement at issue required for it to be signed by both parties and it was undisputed that Ref-Chem did not sign the agreement. Therefore, there was no valid agreement to arbitrate in this case. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Huckaba v. Ref-Chem, L.P." on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of Delek's challenge to an arbitrator's award in an action alleging that the company violated a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which required that employees get first crack at new work unless certain exceptions apply. The court held that the arbitrator's exercise of his discretion did not conflict with the CBA, and that the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Delek's challenge was without justification and subject to a fee award. View "Delek Refining, Limited v. Local 202" on Justia Law

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In two separate actions against HomeAway, the Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's judgment in Plaintiff Ivan Arnold's case and affirmed the judgment in Plaintiff Deirdre Seim's case, holding that plaintiffs were bound to arbitrate their threshold arbitrability questions. In Arnold's case, the court held that there was a contract between the parties that contained a putative arbitration provision, the parties have agreed to delegate threshold questions about the arbitration provision to an arbitrator, and Arnold did not specifically challenge the validity of the delegation clause. In Seim's case, the district court was correct to order arbitration but should not have assessed threshold questions itself. Accordingly, the court remanded both cases with instructions to compel arbitration. View "Arnold v. HomeAway, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's motion to compel arbitration. Determining that it had jurisdiction and the premature notice of appeal was effective, the court held that the Green Tree Parties had standing to compel arbitration even if some were not signatories to the arbitration. In this case, the House Parties' allegation supported application of Mississippi's intertwined claims test to permit Green Tree and WIMC to compel arbitration as non-signatories. The court also held that the district court did not err in ruling that the parties' express incorporation of the JAMS rules provided clear evidence that they agreed that the arbitrator would decide arbitrability. Finally, the district court correctly referred the question of fraud to the arbitrator. View "Green Tree Servicing LLC v. House" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's motion to compel arbitration. Determining that it had jurisdiction and the premature notice of appeal was effective, the court held that the Green Tree Parties had standing to compel arbitration even if some were not signatories to the arbitration. In this case, the House Parties' allegation supported application of Mississippi's intertwined claims test to permit Green Tree and WIMC to compel arbitration as non-signatories. The court also held that the district court did not err in ruling that the parties' express incorporation of the JAMS rules provided clear evidence that they agreed that the arbitrator would decide arbitrability. Finally, the district court correctly referred the question of fraud to the arbitrator. View "Green Tree Servicing LLC v. House" on Justia Law