Articles Posted in Arbitration & Mediation

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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 Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 7, does not grant arbitrators the power to compel the production of documents from third parties outside of a hearing. In this case, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of a petition to enforce a subpoena issued prehearing by an arbitration panel against a company that was not a party to the arbitration. View "Vividus, LLC v. Express Scripts, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order compelling arbitration of putative class action claims against AT&T by customers who alleged that AT&T falsely advertised their mobile service plans as "unlimited" when in fact it intentionally slowed data at certain usage levels. The panel held that there was no state action in this case, rejecting plaintiffs' claim that there was state action whenever a party asserts a direct constitutional challenge to a permissive law under Denver Area Educational Telecommunications Consortium, Inc. v. FCC, 518 U.S. 727 (1996). The panel held that Denver Area did not broadly rule that the government was the relevant state actor whenever there was a direct constitutional challenge to a "permissive" statute, and did not support finding state action here. The panel also held that the Federal Arbitration Act merely gives AT&T the private choice to arbitrate, and did not encourage arbitration such that AT&T's conduct was attributable to the state. View "Roberts v. AT&T Mobility, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards does not allow nonsignatories or non-parties to compel arbitration. The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) expressly exempted from its scope any contracts of employment of seamen. In this maritime action, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of a motion to compel arbitration arising from the death of a seaman in the sinking of a fishing vessel. Dongwon moved to compel arbitration based on an employment agreement between the seaman and the vessel's owner, Majestic. The panel held that Dongwon was neither a signatory nor a party to the employment agreement. The panel also held that Dongwan could not compel arbitration on grounds other than the Convention Treaty, such as the FAA. View "Yang v. Dongwon Industries, Ltd." on Justia Law

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The Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards does not allow nonsignatories or non-parties to compel arbitration. The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) expressly exempted from its scope any contracts of employment of seamen. In this maritime action, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of a motion to compel arbitration arising from the death of a seaman in the sinking of a fishing vessel. Dongwon moved to compel arbitration based on an employment agreement between the seaman and the vessel's owner, Majestic. The panel held that Dongwon was neither a signatory nor a party to the employment agreement. The panel also held that Dongwan could not compel arbitration on grounds other than the Convention Treaty, such as the FAA. View "Yang v. Dongwon Industries, Ltd." on Justia Law

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After relator alleged that her former employer violated the federal False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3730(a), (b), and Nevada FCA, the United States and Nevada declined to intervene. The employer then moved to compel arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 1 et seq. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of the motion to compel arbitration on an alternate ground, holding that the plain text of relator's arbitration agreement did not encompass the FCA case. View "US/Nevada ex rel. Welch v. My Left Foot Children's Therapy, LLC" on Justia Law

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The incorporation of the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) into an arbitration agreement constitutes clear and unmistakable evidence of a delegation of gateway issues to the arbitrator. The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's judgment entering a preliminary injunction prohibiting sureties from pursuing claims against PGE in arbitration and denying a mandatory stay of the judicial proceedings under section 3 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 3. The panel held that the district court erred in enjoining the sureties from participating in the ICC arbitration and denying at least a temporary stay of the litigation under the FAA, preventing the arbitral tribunal from addressing the scope of the arbitration. View "Portland General Electric Co. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a class action against C.H. Robinson, alleging misclassification claims regarding overtime pay requirements. On appeal, C.H. Robinson challenged the district court's denial of its motion to compel arbitration. The court rejected plaintiff's argument that the Incentive Bonus Agreement at issue was procedurally and substantively unconscionable. In regards to procedural unconscionability, the court concluded that, under California law, the degree of procedural unconscionability of such an adhesion agreement is low. In regard to substantive unconscionability, the court concluded that any argument that the judicial carve-out was not substantively unconscionable has been waived; the waiver of representative claims was not substantively unconscionable where the unenforceability of the waiver of a Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), Cal. Labor Code 2698-2699.5, representative action does not make this provision substantively unconscionable; and the venue provision, confidentiality provision, sanctions provision, unilateral modification provision, and discovery limitations are not substantively unconscionable. Therefore, the court concluded that the dispute resolution provision is valid and enforceable once the judicial carve-out clause is extirpated and the waiver of representative claims is limited to non-PAGA claims, and the district court erred in holding otherwise. The court reversed and remanded. View "Poublon v. C.H. Robinson Co." on Justia Law