Articles Posted in Contracts

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Paramount in an action under section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act. AFM filed suit alleging breach of Article 3 of the Basic Theatrical Motion Picture Agreement, a collective bargaining agreement, in connection with the motion picture, Same Kind of Different As Me, which was scored in Slovakia. The panel held that the district court misinterpreted Article 3 to apply only if a signatory producer employs the cast and crew shooting the picture; Article 3 functions as a work preservation provision that dictates when a signatory has to hire those musicians; and Article 3 applied when a signatory studio produces a motion picture and has authority over the hiring and employment of scoring musicians. The panel held that there was a disputed question of fact as to whether Paramount produced the movie and had sufficient authority over the hiring of scoring musicians such that Article 3 applied. Finally, the panel rejected Paramount's affirmative defense that Article 3 violated the National Labor Relations Act's "hot cargo" prohibition and reversed two of the district court's evidentiary rulings. View "American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada v. Paramount Pictures Corp." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's action based on a forum-selection clause in share purchase agreements that required disputes related to the parties' agreement be adjudicated in California state court, rather than Washington state court. The panel held that plaintiffs failed to carry their heavy burden of showing the sort of exceptional circumstances that would justify disregarding a forum-selection clause. Applying federal contract law to interpret the scope of the forum-selection clause, the panel held that the forum-selection clause here applied to any disputes arising out of or related to the Share Purchase Agreements and plaintiffs' claims that defendant violated the Washington State Securities Act constituted such a dispute. The panel rejected plaintiffs' claims to the contrary and held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the complaint. View "Sun v. Advanced China Healthcare, Inc." on Justia Law

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This case concerned remedies in various appeals arising from claims for breach of contract and fraud. The Ninth Circuit held that the district court's orders on July 26, 2010, and October 8, 2013, affirming defendants' right to recover restitution, were sound; in regard to the December 17, 2014 order, the district court erred in allowing the judgment creditor to recover in restitution in light of Ward v. Sherman, 100 P. 864 (Cal. 1909); the judgment creditor's challenges to the October 8, 2013 order denying the judgment creditor's request for rescission of its quota share reinsurance agreement was rejected; the May 19, 2015 order granting in part and denying in part defendants' motion to recover post-appeal attorneys' fees under California Civil Code 1717 was reversed; and because the judgment creditor's restitution award was reversed, the district court's July 14, 2015 order denying defendants' motion to retax costs was reversed and remanded for reconsideration. View "PSM Holding Corp. v. National Farm Financial Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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This case concerned remedies in various appeals arising from claims for breach of contract and fraud. The Ninth Circuit held that the district court's orders on July 26, 2010, and October 8, 2013, affirming defendants' right to recover restitution, were sound; in regard to the December 17, 2014 order, the district court erred in allowing the judgment creditor to recover in restitution in light of Ward v. Sherman, 100 P. 864 (Cal. 1909); the judgment creditor's challenges to the October 8, 2013 order denying the judgment creditor's request for rescission of its quota share reinsurance agreement was rejected; the May 19, 2015 order granting in part and denying in part defendants' motion to recover post-appeal attorneys' fees under California Civil Code 1717 was reversed; and because the judgment creditor's restitution award was reversed, the district court's July 14, 2015 order denying defendants' motion to retax costs was reversed and remanded for reconsideration. View "PSM Holding Corp. v. National Farm Financial Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment for EpiCept in an action brought by doctors, alleging claims for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and fraud. The doctors' claims relate to two patents for a non-FDA approved drug (NP-2) and EpiCept's failure to develop those patents into FDA-approved drugs. The doctors' arguments mainly center on the jury's determination that the doctors materially breached their contract with EpiCept by failing to disclose that Dr. Flores treated burn patients with NP-2. The panel held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in formulating the jury instructions, or in determining that the jury's verdict was not against the clear weight of the evidence; neither the jury instructions given in this case nor the evidence presented at trial warrant the do-over the doctors demanded; the district court's response to the jury's question also did not merit a new trial because the jury's question was essentially factual and the district court's answer appropriately directed the jury to consider its original instructions and the evidence presented at trial; and because the panel affirmed the jury's finding that the doctors materially breached the contract, the district court's exclusion of the doctor's damages expert was necessarily harmless. View "Crowley v. EpiCept Corp." 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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Plaintiff filed suit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona's revocation-on-divorce (ROD) statute after she remained the beneficiary of her ex-husband's IRA account when he died. The Ninth Circuit held that the district court correctly determined that an Arizona state court would disregard the choice-of-law provision in the Plan and instead apply Arizona's ROD statute; the application of the ROD statute was not preempted by federal statutes and regulations governing IRAs; the district courts erred when they denied plaintiff standing; and the California district court did not abuse its discretion in transferring the case to Arizona under 28 U.S.C. 1406(a) on the grounds that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the Estate. Although it disagreed with the district court's holding that plaintiff lacked standing, the panel affirmed the dismissal of the constitutional challenge to the application of Arizona's ROD statute in the allocation of the proceeds of the ex-husband's IRA. View "Lazar v. Kroncke" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts, Family Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the dismissal of a putative class action seeking refunds of baggage fees based on preemption by the Airline Deregulation Act, 49 U.S.C. 1301 et seq. Plaintiff filed suit, alleging various breach of contract claims, seeking a refund of a $15 baggage claim fee, because her bag did not arrive on time and was consequently delivered to her the next day. American Airlines v. Wolens is controlling as to plaintiff's breach of contract claim. In this case, because plaintiff's claim was for breach of contract of a voluntarily assumed contractual undertaking, and she pleaded breach of contract, the claim was not preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act as construed by Wolens. View "Hickcox-Huffman v. US Airways" on Justia Law

Posted in: Aviation, Contracts

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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

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Plaintiff filed a class action against Samsung, alleging that it made misrepresentations as to the performance of the Galaxy S4 phone. The district court denied Samsung's motion to compel arbitration based on an arbitration provision contained in a warranty brochure included in the Galaxy S4 box. Determining that its analysis is governed by California contract, rather than warranty, law, the court concluded plaintiff did not assent to any agreement in the brochure, nor did he sign or otherwise act in a manner that showed he accepted the arbitration agreement. The court concluded that Samsung failed to demonstrate the applicability of any exception to the general California rule that an offeree’s silence does not constitute consent. Therefore, in the absence of an applicable exception, California’s general rule for contract formation applies. The court also concluded that, under the circumstances of this case, Samsung's inclusion of a brochure in the Galaxy S4 box, and plaintiff's failure to opt out, does not make the arbitration provision enforceable against plaintiff. Finally, the court concluded that Samsung's argument that plaintiff agreed to arbitrate his claims by signing the Customer Agreement with Verizon Wireless is meritless. The court explained that Samsung is not a signatory to the Customer Agreement between Verizon Wireless and its customer. Furthermore, Samsung is not a third-party beneficiary to the Customer Agreement. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Norcia v. Samsung Telecommunications" on Justia Law