Justia Arbitration & Mediation Opinion Summaries

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Angle served as the exclusive U.S. distribution agent for Jiangsu, a Chinese manufacturer..Jiangsu claims that, as of June 2018, Angle owed it $1.3 million. Under a June 2018 memorandum of understanding, Angle agreed to pay Jiangsu $528,227.59 within six months. The MOU did not contain an arbitration clause. In July, Jiangsu sent Angle a revised agreement, under which the parties agreed to submit any dispute to the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) with a revised payment schedule. Angle never signed the July MOU. The parties agreed to a payment schedule, without reference to either MOU. Jiangsu repeatedly asked Angle to forward the “signed agreement.” Angle did not make all of the agreed payments. Jiangsu initiated arbitration. Angle objected to CIETAC’s jurisdiction. The Chinese Court found that the July MOU and its arbitration clause were enforceable. The CIETAC arbitration panel independently determined that the July MOU was enforceable under the U.N. Convention on the International Sale of Goods and Chinese law and ordered Angle to pay $624,227.59.Jiangsu sought to enforce its award in the United States under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. The Third Circuit vacated the dismissal of Jiangsu’s confirmation petition. While the district court was not bound by the decisions of Chinese tribunals and Angle did not waive its right to contest enforcement, the district court should make an independent determination as to arbitrability. View "Jiangsu Beier Decoration Materials Co., Ltd. v. Angle World LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court remanded this case after Appellant appealed a circuit court order granting in part and denying in part its motion to enforce arbitration agreements and to compel class members with arbitration agreements to submit their claims to binding arbitration, holding that remand was required.In this case involving several claims against a nursing home, Plaintiff moved to enforce arbitration agreements and to compel other class members with arbitration agreements to submit their claims to binding arbitration, a motion that involved arbitration agreements signed by thirty-three residents at admission. The circuit court granted the motion with respect to fifteen residents and denied it with respect to eighteen residents. The Supreme Court remanded the case with instructions for the circuit court to make findings regarding its order denying Plaintiffs motion to compel arbitration, holding that, in order to conduct a proper appellate review, this Court must know the circuit court's rationale for its decision. View "Robinson Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, LLC v. Phillips" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied as moot a writ of mandamus requested by Relator compelling the City of Toledo to provide him with copies of public records and to pay statutory damages under Ohio's Public Records Act, Ohio Rev. Code 149.43, holding that that writ was moot.Relator claimed that he sent a public-records request to the City's police department seeking certain records. When the request was denied Realtor commenced this action and requested statutory damages. Relator later moved to strike an affidavit and accompanying documents on the grounds that Toledo had not served him with the evidence. The Supreme Court denied the motion, holding (1) because Relator conceded that he had not received the records at issue, the writ was moot; and (2) because Relator did not prove by clear and convincing evidence that he sent his purported request by certified mail or any other method, his request for statutory damages is denied. View "State ex rel. Mobley v. Toledo" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a complaint against his former employer, Facility Solutions Group, Inc. (FSG), for disability discrimination and related causes of action under the Fair Employment & Housing Act. The same month Plaintiff filed this class action against FSG for Labor Code violations, which also included a claim under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004.   The trial court in this action denied FSG’s motion, finding unconscionability permeated the arbitration agreement because it had a low to moderate level of procedural unconscionability and at least six substantively unconscionable terms, making severance infeasible. On appeal, FSG contends claim and issue preclusion required the trial court in this action to enforce the arbitration agreement.   The Second Appellate District affirmed. The court agreed with the trial court that the arbitration agreement is permeated with unconscionability, and the court cannot simply sever the offending provisions. Rather, the court would need to rewrite the agreement, creating a new agreement to which the parties never agreed. Moreover, upholding this type of agreement with multiple unconscionable terms would create an incentive for an employer to draft a onesided arbitration agreement in the hope employees would not challenge the unlawful provisions, but if they do, the court would simply modify the agreement to include the bilateral terms the employer should have included in the first place. View "Mills v. Facility Solutions Group" on Justia Law

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The Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980 imposes liability on employers who withdraw—partially or completely—from multiemployer pension funds. After a complete withdrawal, GCIU-Employer Retirement Fund’s (GCIU) actuary calculated MNG Enterprise’s (MNG) withdrawal liability using an interest rate published by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. On MNG’s challenge, an arbitrator found (1) that MNG could not be assessed partial withdrawal liability following a complete withdrawal, (2) that it had shown the interest rate used was not the best estimate of the plan’s experience, and (3) that GCIU properly included the newspapers’ contribution histories. The district court affirmed the arbitrator’s award, vacating and correcting only a typographical error on the interest rate.   The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part the district court’s order affirming, except for a typographical error, an arbitrator’s award regarding the withdrawal liability. The panel held that the MPPAA directs the plan actuary to determine withdrawal liability based on “actuarial assumptions and methods which, in the aggregate, are reasonable (taking into account the experience of the plan and reasonable expectations) and which, in combination, offer the actuary’s best estimate of anticipated experience under the plan.” The panel held that the GCIU actuary’s use of the PBGC rate, without considering the “experience of the plan and reasonable expectations,” did not satisfy the “best estimate” standard. View "GCIU-EMPLOYER RETIREMENT FUND, ET AL V. MNG ENTERPRISES, INC." on Justia Law

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In 2018, Shiekh hired Davis; both signed an agreement to resolve all disputes by binding arbitration. Davis resigned after three months, claiming she was subjected to sexual harassment by her co-worker and customers. In March 2019, Davis filed a complaint under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. On May 12, a summons was served. In July, Shiekh, represented by counsel, answered Davis’s complaint, asserting the arbitration agreement as an affirmative defense, and filed a case management statement. In August, the court scheduled a trial for July 2020. Discovery ensued, without Shiekh asserting a right to arbitrate. The trial date was continued. In October 2020 (17 months after service of process; seven months before the trial date) Shiekh moved to compel arbitration, citing the Federal Arbitration Act (9 U.S.C.1) and California Arbitration Act, asserting that its participation in the lawsuit had been de minimis and not inconsistent with an intent to arbitrate, and that the delay was excusable, citing its lack of counsel for several months, pandemic-related disruptions, and “the fact that [an employee] seemed to be the primary target of [the] complaint," until July 2020.The court of appeal affirmed the denial of Shiekh’s motion. Although the Supreme Court recently held that a waiver of the right to arbitrate cannot be conditioned on a showing of prejudice, substantial evidence supports the denial based on relevant factors other than prejudice. Shiekh’s actions were inconsistent with the right to arbitrate. View "Davis v. Shiekh Shoes, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the State Corporation Commission (SCC) that approved a petition filed by the Virginia Electric and Power Company (VEPCO) to obtain a rate-adjustment clause pursuant to Va. Code 56-585.1(A)(5)(e), holding that, contrary to the arguments brought by Applalachian Voices on appeal, the SCC applied the proper legal standard governing such requests.VEPCO made its request to recover projected costs of purchasing allowances through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade market regulating carbon dioxide emissions by electric utilities. On appeal, Appalachian Voices, a nonprofit environmental organization, argued that the SCC failed to apply the law when it approved VEPCO's petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the SCC did not misunderstand or fail o apply the legal standard governing petitions filed pursuant to Va. Code 56-585.1(A)(5)(e). View "Appalachian Voices v. State Corp. Comm'n" on Justia Law

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LAD-T, LLC, dba Toyota of Downtown Los Angeles (LAD-T), and its parent company Lithia Motors Inc. (Lithia; collectively, Defendants) appeal from an order denying their motion to compel arbitration of Plaintiff’s claims brought under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Defendants contend the trial court erred in finding Business and Professions Code section 17918 barred them from enforcing an arbitration agreement made in the name of an unregistered fictitious business, DT Los Angeles Toyota.   The Second Appellate District vacated the order denying Defendants’ motion to compel arbitration remanded for the trial court to address whether Defendants have waived their right to compel arbitration. The court ruled that if the trial court finds waiver, it should again deny the motion to compel arbitration; if it finds no waiver, it should grant the motion. The court explained that it agrees with Plaintiff that Defendants failed to act diligently in filing their fictitious business name statement. Accordingly, in the interests of justice the court vacated the court’s order denying the motion to compel arbitration and direct the court to again consider the motion to compel arbitration limited to the narrow issue of whether Defendants have waived their right to compel arbitration by their delay in filing the fictitious business name statement. View "Villareal v. LAD-T, LLC" on Justia Law

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R.A.C. Rolling Hills LP, dba ActivCare at Rolling Hills Ranch, and ActivCare Living, Inc. (together, ActivCare), appealed an order denying their petition to compel arbitration in the elder abuse lawsuit filed by Mary Leger. ActivCare contended the trial court erred in concluding that it had waived its right to arbitration because it sought to compel arbitration less than 30 days after filing its answer. Under the unique facts of this case, the Court of Appeal concluded substantial evidence supported the trial court’s waiver finding and affirmed the order. View "Leger v. R.A.C. Rolling Hills" on Justia Law

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Michael O’Connor signed up for a loyalty program when he bought a pair of shoes and socks from Road Runner Sports, Inc. and Road Runner Sports Retail, Inc. (collectively, “Road Runner”). He alleged Road Runner did not tell him the loyalty program was an automatic renewal subscription and that his credit card would be charged an annual subscription fee. After discovering he had been charged for four years of subscription fees, he joined as the named plaintiff in a class action lawsuit alleging Road Runner had violated California’s Automatic Renewal Law and consumer protection statutes. Road Runner asserted O’Connor was bound by an arbitration provision it added to the online terms and conditions of the loyalty program, some three years after he enrolled. Although Road Runner conceded O’Connor did not have actual or constructive notice of the arbitration provision, it contended O’Connor created an implied-in-fact agreement to arbitrate when he obtained imputed knowledge of the arbitration provision through his counsel in the course of litigation and failed to cancel his membership. The Court of Appeal disagreed this was sufficient under California law to prove consent to or acceptance of an agreement to arbitrate. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the trial court’s order denying Road Runner’s motion to compel arbitration. View "Costa v. Road Runner Sports" on Justia Law