Justia U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Arbitration & Mediation
Dalla-Longa v. Magnetar Capital LLC
Petitioner appealed the district court's order entered dismissing his petition to vacate an arbitration award. The Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA") requires that notice of a motion to vacate an arbitration award be served within three months of the date the arbitration award is filed or delivered. Counsel sent notice of the petition to vacate the arbitration award to Respondent late on the last day of the three-month period, but counsel did so by email. The district court granted Respondent’s motion to dismiss, concluding that service was improper and untimely. On appeal, Petitioner contended that service was proper because Respondent had agreed to email service in the underlying arbitration and that the consent carried over to the judicial proceedings to vacate the award. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling dismissing the petition and held that email service of a notice of a petition to vacate was ineffective under 9 U.S.C. Section 12 and Fed. R. Civ. P. 5. The court reasoned that Section 12 contains no exception to the three-month limitations period. Further, under Rule 5, a party may serve papers by email only if the person being served has "consented" to service by email "in writing." Here, Petitioner’s counsel had not asked Respondent’s counsel for consent to email service, and Respondent’s counsel had not provided consent to email service in writing, as required by Rule 5. Further, AAA Employment Arbitration Rules and Mediation Procedures 38(a)-(b) does not contemplate email service. View "Dalla-Longa v. Magnetar Capital LLC" on Justia Law
Bissonnette v. LePage Bakeries
Plaintiffs, who deliver baked goods in designated territories in Connecticut, brought an action on behalf of a putative class against the manufacturer of the baked goods that Plaintiffs deliver. The district court compelled arbitration pursuant to an arbitration agreement that is governed by the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) and Connecticut law. Plaintiffs claimed that they are not subject to the FAA because Section 1 of the FAA excludes contracts with “seamen, railroad employees, [and] any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce.” 9 U.S.C. Section 1. The exclusion is construed to cover “transportation workers.” The Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision ordering arbitration and dismissing Plaintiff’s lawsuit against Defendant for unpaid or withheld wages, unpaid overtime wages, and unjust enrichment. The court held that Plaintiffs did not qualify as transportation workers.The court reasoned that though Plaintiffs spend appreciable parts of their working days moving goods from place to place by truck, the stores and restaurants are not buying the movement of the baked goods, so long as they arrive. The charges are for the baked goods themselves, and the movement of those goods is at most a component of the total price. The commerce is in breads, buns, rolls, and snack cakes--not transportation services. View "Bissonnette v. LePage Bakeries" on Justia Law
Murphy v. Inst. of Int’l Educ.
Plaintiff sued her employer, the Institute of International Education, for discrimination in violation of federal, state, and local, employment law. The district court referred the matter to New York’s mediation program and the parties reached an agreement to settle the case. The parties committed that agreement to writing, signed it, had their counsel sign it, and had the mediator sign it. The week after the mediation, Plaintiff contacted the district court seeking to revoke her acceptance of the mediation agreement and to continue the litigation. The Institute then moved to enforce the mediation agreement. The district court enforced the mediation agreement and entered judgment in favor of the Institute. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court judgment. The court concluded that the mediation agreement bound the parties to its terms. The court reasoned that the case is not one in which the language of the agreement merely committed the parties to “work together in accordance with the terms and conditions outlined in” the agreement, which would be an agreement to continue negotiating. And while this language was pre-printed, the parties could have crossed it out if they did not intend to acknowledge that agreement on all issues had been reached or they could have added language in the handwritten portion of the mediation agreement reserving the right not to be bound by the mediation agreement’s terms until the final agreement was drafted. Further, the court found that Plaintiff was not under duress when she signed the mediation agreement. View "Murphy v. Inst. of Int'l Educ." on Justia Law
Samake v. Thunder Lube, Inc.
The Second Circuit dismissed plaintiff's appeal of the district court's judgment deeming his Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(i) notice of dismissal without prejudice withdrawn and compelling arbitration. The court held that the district court properly retained jurisdiction following the notice of dismissal to conduct a Cheeks review of any possible settlement of plaintiff's Fair Labor Standards Act claims; and that the district court reasonably interpreted his request to continue the litigation as a withdrawal of the notice of dismissal, and, in its discretion, deemed it withdrawn. Therefore, plaintiff failed to take a timely appeal of the order deeming his notice of dismissal withdrawn, and the order to stay and compel arbitration is an unappealable interlocutory order. View "Samake v. Thunder Lube, Inc." on Justia Law
Tantaros v. Fox News Network, LLC
Plaintiff filed suit in the New York Supreme Court pursuant to New York Civil Practice Law and Rule 7515 (C.P.L.R. 7515), challenging arbitration of her sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and retaliation claims against Fox News and certain senior executives. C.P.L.R. 7515 prohibits mandatory arbitration clauses covering employment discrimination claims, "[e]xcept where inconsistent with federal law." After removal to federal court, the district court denied plaintiff's motion to remand to state court on the basis that the action necessarily raises an issue of federal law: whether her claim is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion, concluding that plaintiff's suit arises under federal law. The court applied the Grable-Gunn analysis and concluded that because section 7515 requires a threshold showing that the plaintiff's claim complies with the FAA, it necessarily raises a substantial federal issue that may be resolved in federal court without threatening the federal-state balance. View "Tantaros v. Fox News Network, LLC" on Justia Law
Posted in: Arbitration & Mediation
Beijing Shougang Mining Investment Co., Ltd. v. Mongolia
Petitioners appeal the district court's order denying their petition to set aside an arbitral award issued by an ad hoc arbitral tribunal constituted under a bilateral investment treaty between Mongolia and the People's Republic of China, and granting Mongolia's cross-petition to confirm the award. Petitioners also challenge the district court's rejection of their petition to compel arbitration on the merits.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment, rejecting the appeal and holding that petitioners were not entitled to de novo review of the arbitrability of their investment claims. While the bilateral investment treaty in this case does not contain a clear statement empowering arbitrators to decide issues of arbitrability, the court held that the parties nonetheless clearly and unmistakably agreed to submit questions of arbitrability to the arbitral tribunal in the course of the dispute between them. Therefore, the court concluded that the district court properly declined to determine independently the arbitrability of petitioners' investment claims; in reaching their decision on arbitrability, the arbitrators did not exceed their powers; and the court agreed with the district court's decision to confirm the award. View "Beijing Shougang Mining Investment Co., Ltd. v. Mongolia" on Justia Law
Posted in: Arbitration & Mediation
Doe v. The Trump Corporation
Anonymous plaintiffs filed a putative class action against The Trump Corporation, Donald J. Trump, and various members of his family, asserting claims for racketeering in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1962(c), conspiracy to conduct the affairs of a racketeering enterprise in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1962(d), dissemination of untrue and misleading public statements in violation of California law, unfair competition in violation of California law, unfair and deceptive trade practices in violation of Maryland and Pennsylvania law, common-law fraud, and common-law negligent misrepresentation. Plaintiffs contend that defendants fraudulently induced them to enter into business relationships with non-party appellant, ACN, by making a series of deceptive and misleading statements. The district court denied both defendants and ACN's motions to compel arbitration.The Second Circuit affirmed, concluding that (1) defendants may not compel plaintiffs to arbitrate their dispute on equitable estoppel grounds; and (2) the district court may not compel arbitration as to ACN's discovery dispute because the court lacked an independent basis for subject-matter jurisdiction over the parties' dispute. The court considered defendants and ACN's remaining arguments on appeal and concluded that they are without merit. View "Doe v. The Trump Corporation" on Justia Law
DDK Hotels, LLC v. Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
Plaintiffs DDK Hotels, DDK Hospitality, and DDK Management filed suit against Defendants Williams-Sonoma and West Elm, asserting claims for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, and unjust enrichment. West Elm then brought an action in the Delaware Court of Chancery, seeking to dissolve the joint venture, which the Delaware court dismissed. Plaintiffs then filed a supplemental complaint in the district court to assert an additional claim for breach of the prevailing party provisions of Section 21(h) of the joint venture agreement. Defendants then moved to compel arbitration for that claim, which the district court denied.The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's order denying defendants' motion to compel arbitration, concluding that the joint venture agreement does not "clearly and unmistakably" delegate arbitrability to the arbitrator and that the district court therefore correctly ruled on the scope of the arbitration agreement. Finally, the court rejected DDK Hospitality's request for prevailing party fees and noted that DDK Hospitality may pursue its request for fees on remand. View "DDK Hotels, LLC v. Williams-Sonoma, Inc." on Justia Law
The Application of the Fund v. AlixPartners
The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's July 8, 2020 Order granting an application for discovery assistance pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1782 and the August 25, 2020 Order denying reconsideration of the same. The Fund, a Russian corporation, sought assistance from the district court to order discovery from AlixPartners for use in an arbitration proceeding brought by the Fund against Lithuania before an arbitral panel established pursuant to a bilateral investment treaty between Lithuania and Russia.The court concluded that an arbitration between a foreign state and an investor, which takes place before an arbitral panel established pursuant to a bilateral investment treaty to which the foreign State is a party, constitutes a "proceeding in a foreign or international tribunal" under 28 U.S.C. 1782; the Fund, as a party to the arbitration for which it seeks discovery assistance, is an "interested person" who may seek discovery assistance for such an arbitration under section 1782; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the Intel factors weigh in favor of granting the Fund's discovery application under section 1782. View "The Application of the Fund v. AlixPartners" on Justia Law
Soliman v. Subway Franchisee Advert. Fund Trust, Ltd.
Soliman entered a California Subway sandwich shop. An employee showed her an in-store, hard-copy advertisement, on which Subway offered to send special offers if she texted a keyword. Soliman sent a text message to Subway. Subway began sending her, via text message, hyperlinks to electronic coupons. Soliman alleges that she later requested by text that Subway stop sending her messages, but her request was ignored. She filed suit under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Subway moved to compel arbitration, arguing that a contract was formed because the in-store advertisement, from which Soliman got the keyword and shortcode, included a reference to terms and conditions, including an arbitration requirement, located on Subway’s website and provided the URL.The Second Circuit affirmed the denial of the motion to compel arbitration. Under California law, Soliman was not bound by the arbitration provision because Subway did not provide reasonably conspicuous notice that she was agreeing to the terms on the website. Because of barriers relating to the design and content of the print advertisement, and the accessibility and language of the website itself, the terms and conditions were not reasonably conspicuous under the totality of the circumstances; a reasonable consumer would not realize she was being bound to such terms by sending a text message to Subway in order to receive promotional offers. View "Soliman v. Subway Franchisee Advert. Fund Trust, Ltd." on Justia Law