Justia Contracts Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Murphy v. DirecTV, Inc.
Plaintiffs filed a putative consumer class action suit against DirecTV and Best Buy, alleging violations of California's consumer protection laws. The arbitration agreement at issue in this instance was a customer service agreement between DirecTV and individuals who believed they purchased DirecTV equipment from Best Buy stores. AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion held that Section 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 2, preempted the State of California's rule rendering unenforceable arbitration provisions in consumer contracts that waive collective or class action proceedings. The court concluded that the arbitration agreement in this case was enforceable under Concepcion and, therefore, the district court did not err in compelling plaintiffs to arbitrate their claims against DirecTV. The court concluded, however, that plaintiffs were not required to arbitrate their claims with Best Buy. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Murphy v. DirecTV, Inc." on Justia Law
Oracle America, Inc. v. Myriad Group A.G.
This case stemmed from a dispute between the parties over license agreements which allowed Myriad access to Oracle's Java programming language. On appeal, Myriad challenged the district court's partial denial of its motion to compel arbitration. The court concluded that the incorporation of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) arbitration rules into the parties' commercial contract constituted clear and unmistakable evidence that the parties agreed to arbitrate arbitrability. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Oracle America, Inc. v. Myriad Group A.G." on Justia Law
Fox Broadcasting Co. v. Dish Network
Fox filed suit against Dish Network for copyright infringement and breach of contract, seeking a preliminary injunction. At issue were two Dish products: (1) "PrimeTime Anytime," which allowed a cable subscriber to set a single timer to record any and all primetime programming on four major networks; and (2) "AutoHop," which allowed users to automatically skip commercials. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in holding that Fox did not establish a likelihood of success on its direct infringement claim. In this case, Dish's PrimeTime Anytime program created the copied program only in response to the user's command and the district court did not err in concluding that the user, not Dish, made the copy. Operating a system used to make copies at the user's command did not mean that the system operator, rather than the user, caused copies to be made. Although Fox established a prima facie case of direct infringement by Dish customers, Dish met its burden of demonstrating that it was likely to succeed on its affirmative defense that its customers' copying was a "fair use." Accordingly, the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that Fox was unlikely to succeed on its claim of secondary infringement. Applying a very deferential standard of review, the court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying a preliminary injunction based on alleged contract breaches. Finally, even if Fox was likely to succeed on its claims that Dish directly infringed Fox's copyrights and breached the no-copying clause of the contract at issue by making "quality assurance" copies, the court agreed with the district court that Fox did not demonstrate a likelihood of irreparable harm resulting from these copies. Therefore, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Fox Broadcasting Co. v. Dish Network" on Justia Law
Mortensen, et al. v. Bresnan Communications, LLC
Plaintiffs brought a putative class action against Bresnan alleging violations of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. 2520-21, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. 1030, and Montana state law for invasion of privacy and trespass to chattels in connection with targeted advertising they received while using Bresnan's Internet service. The district court declined to enforce a choice-of-law clause in the service subscriber agreement, provided to all Bresnan customers, specifying that New York law should apply, and an arbitration clause. The court held that AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion further limited the savings clause in the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 1-2 et seq., and therefore, the court held that the FAA preempted Montana's reasonable expectations/fundamental rights rule and that the district court erred in not applying New York law because a state's preempted public policy was an impermissible basis on which to reject the parties' choice-of-law selection. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's denial of Bresnan's motion to compel arbitration and remanded to the district court with instructions to apply New York law to the arbitration agreement. View "Mortensen, et al. v. Bresnan Communications, LLC" on Justia Law
Tehama-Colusa Canal Auth. v. U.S. Dept. of Interior
The Canal Authority appealed the district court's decision to grant summary judgment in favor of Interior, Bureau, San Luis, and Wetlands, in a suit to establish priority water rights under Central Valley Project (CVP) water service contracts. The district court granted summary judgment for defendants, holding that all claims arising before February 11, 2004 were time-barred and that Canal Authority was not entitled to priority water allocation under the CVP contracts. The court affirmed the district court's decision on the alternative basis that California Water Code 11460 did not require the Bureau to provide CVP contractors priority water rights, because contracts between the Canal Authority and Bureau contained provisions that specifically address allocation of water during shortage periods. View "Tehama-Colusa Canal Auth. v. U.S. Dept. of Interior" on Justia Law
Air Control Tech. v. Pre Con Indus.
ACT brought this suit against PCI and First National, alleging claims of breach of contract, quantum meruit, and recovery on a payment bond under the Miller Act, 40 U.S.C. 3131(b). Because United States ex rel. Celanese Coatings Co. v. Gullard was clearly irreconcilable with intervening higher authority, the court overruled it and held that the Miller Act's statute of limitations was a claim-processing rule, not a jurisdictional rule. Because nothing on the face of ACT's complaint indicated that it did not work on the project or rent equipment to PCI within one year of the date it filed the complaint, the complaint could not have been dismissed if the district court had treated the Miller Act's statute of limitations as a claim-processing rule. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "Air Control Tech. v. Pre Con Indus." on Justia Law
Rajagopalan v. NoteWorld, LLC
Plaintiff filed a class action complaint against NoteWorld alleging, among other things, violations under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1961 et seq., and Washington state law. At issue on appeal was whether an entity could compel arbitration on the basis of an arbitration clause in a contract to which it was not a party. The court concluded that the district court correctly concluded that NoteWorld was not entitled to invoke the arbitration clause as a third-party beneficiary or through equitable estoppel. Accordingly, the court need not decide any other question on appeal and affirmed the judgment. View "Rajagopalan v. NoteWorld, LLC" on Justia Law
Righthaven LLC v. Hoehn
Plaintiff filed separate copyright infringement suits against defendants for posting articles from the Las Vegas Review-Journal online without authorization. In consolidated appeals, the court agreed with the district court that plaintiff lacked standing in both cases because agreements assigning plaintiff the bare right to sue for infringement did not transfer any associated exclusive rights under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101 et seq. Because plaintiff lacked standing, the court also concluded that the court lacked jurisdiction to rule on the merits of the fair use claim. Therefore, the court affirmed the motions to dismiss in both cases, but vacated the portion of the district court order in Hoehn granting summary judgment on fair use. View "Righthaven LLC v. Hoehn" on Justia Law
Petersen v. Boeing Co.
Plaintiff brought suit against Boeing and BISS alleging breach of contract as well as several statutory and common law claims. At issue was the enforceability of a forum selection clause. The court held that the evidence submitted and the allegations made by plaintiff were more than sufficient to create a triable issue of fact as to whether the forum selection clause at issue here was enforceable under M/S Bremen v. Zapata Off-Shores Co. Therefore, the district court abused its discretion by granting BISS's motion to dismiss without convening an evidentiary hearing. The district court also abused its discretion in denying plaintiff leave to amend his pleadings. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. The court did, however, grant Boeing's and BISS's joint motion to strike the portions of plaintiff's reply brief that included new evidence or alleged new facts not in the record before the district court. View "Petersen v. Boeing Co." on Justia Law
Clevo Co. v. Hecny Transp., Inc.
Clevo appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Hecny. Clevo, a Taiwan-based manufacturer of computer parts and accessories, and Amazon, a Brazilian entity, agreed that Clevo would manufacture and sell, and Amazon would buy, millions of dollars' worth of Clevo computer parts. Under Clevo and Amazon's negotiated terms, the Hecny Group was designated to handle all of the contract shipments. More than a year after the initial misdelivery to Amazon, Clevo sued numerous Hecny Group entities for the unpaid remainder of the goods' purchase price. The court concluded that the Guarantee was initially effective to place Clevo and Hecny Transportation in direct contractual privity, without any contractually-created statute of limitations. But that initial relationship was modified when the Bills of Lading issued. By operation of the Himalaya Clause, the benefit of the one-year statue of limitations in the Bills of Lading extended beyond Hecny Shipping to Hecny Transportation as well. Because Hecny Transportation had asserted that provision in defense to suit, Clevo's claims were time-barred. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Clevo Co. v. Hecny Transp., Inc." on Justia Law