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After RAC Acceptance East, LLC swore out a warrant for Mira Brown’s arrest for theft by conversion of furniture that she had rented from RAC, Brown filed a lawsuit against RAC alleging malicious prosecution and other torts. The trial court entered an order granting RAC’s motion to compel Brown to arbitrate her claims pursuant to the arbitration agreement incorporated into the parties’ rental agreement. The Court of Appeals affirmed that order, concluding that whether RAC had waived its right to demand arbitration by its conduct in initiating the related criminal proceeding against Brown was a matter for the court to decide and that the trial court had correctly ruled that RAC did not waive arbitration. The Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari, and affirmed the Court of Appeals’ judgment on the ground that the delegation provision in the parties’ arbitration agreement clearly gave the arbitrator, not the courts, the authority to determine that RAC did not waive by prior litigation conduct its right to seek arbitration, and the arbitrator’s decision on the waiver question could not be properly challenged as legally erroneous. View "Brown v. RAC Acceptance East, LLC" on Justia Law

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In 2001, appellant SunTrust Bank entered into a loan agreement with L-T Adventures, Inc. (“LTA”); this agreement did not include an arbitration provision. In 2005, SunTrust entered into a subsequent agreement with Jedon Lilliston (a co-owner of LTA) and her former husband in a transaction guaranteed by LTA. In connection with this second loan, the parties entered into a “Swap Agreement.” The Swap Agreement included an arbitration clause, providing, inter alia, that “any party may demand arbitration.” Following a dispute concerning interest charges associated with both transactions, Lilliston and LTA filed suit against SunTrust in April 2013. In January 2015, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their action; at no point before the action was dismissed did SunTrust demand arbitration. Lilliston and LTA filed a renewal action, pursuant to OCGA 9-2-61 (a). SunTrust answered the complaint and moved to compel arbitration based on the provision in the Swap Agreement. The question presented in this case was whether a party’s demand for arbitration in a renewal action could be deemed waived based on that party’s conduct in the earlier, original litigation; the Court of Appeals answered this question in the affirmative. The Georgia Supreme Court concluded, however, that a renewal suit filed pursuant to OCGA 9-2-61 (a) was a de novo action, thus, a party’s conduct in the original action had no bearing on the question of waiver in the recommenced action. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals. View "Sun Trust Bank v. Lilliston" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part the judgment of the superior court denying the motion filed by the Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education and the University of Rhode Island (collectively URI) seeking to vacate an arbitration award and confirming the award. After the American Association of University Professors, Part-Time Faculty United (the union) filed a grievance on behalf of a part-time faculty member at URI based on the rescission of the faculty member’s “special programs contract” the union filed a demand for arbitration. The arbitrator determined that URI’s rescission of the faculty member’s contract violated the collective bargaining agreement and issued an award. The superior court denied URI’s motion to vacate the arbitration award and entered final judgment confirming the award. On appeal, the Supreme Court held (1) the grievance was arbitrable; (2) the rescission of the faculty member’s special programs contract was in violation of the CBA and required URI to pay the faculty member a $6,500 salary; but (3) the arbitrator exceeded his authority in ordering URI to cease and desist from unilaterally imposing a two course per semester limit on bargaining unit employees. View "Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education v. American Association of University Professors, Part-Time Faculty United" on Justia Law

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In 2006, Warciak’s mother signed an agreement with T-Mobile to begin cell phone service. In 2012, she signed another agreement when she purchased a new phone. Each agreement contained an arbitration clause. Although Warciak uses a phone on his mother’s plan and is an authorized user who can make changes to the account, he never signed either agreement nor is he otherwise a party to them. In 2016, Warciak received a spam text message promoting a Subway sandwich. He sued Subway under federal and state consumer protection statutes. Subway moved to compel arbitration based on the agreements between T-Mobile and Warciak’s mother. In the district court, Subway argued that federal estoppel law required Warciak to arbitrate under his mother’s contracts. Warciak countered that under Illinois law he is not bound by his mother’s contracts. The district court applied federal law. The Seventh Circuit reversed, holding that state law applies and that Subway cannot claim estoppel because it cannot show detrimental reliance. View "Warciak v. Subway Restaurants, Inc." on Justia Law

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In 2006, Warciak’s mother signed an agreement with T-Mobile to begin cell phone service. In 2012, she signed another agreement when she purchased a new phone. Each agreement contained an arbitration clause. Although Warciak uses a phone on his mother’s plan and is an authorized user who can make changes to the account, he never signed either agreement nor is he otherwise a party to them. In 2016, Warciak received a spam text message promoting a Subway sandwich. He sued Subway under federal and state consumer protection statutes. Subway moved to compel arbitration based on the agreements between T-Mobile and Warciak’s mother. In the district court, Subway argued that federal estoppel law required Warciak to arbitrate under his mother’s contracts. Warciak countered that under Illinois law he is not bound by his mother’s contracts. The district court applied federal law. The Seventh Circuit reversed, holding that state law applies and that Subway cannot claim estoppel because it cannot show detrimental reliance. View "Warciak v. Subway Restaurants, Inc." on Justia Law

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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