Four recent decisions considered whether to compel arbitration in the context of non-signatories and multiple agreements and claims. The decisions highlight different doctrines relevant to this analysis, including equitable estoppel, third-party beneficiary, and agency principals.

Murphy v. DirecTV, Inc., No. 11-57163 (9th Cir. July 30, 2013) (reversing lower court’s order compelling arbitration; non-signatory was not entitled to benefit of arbitration clause under equitable estoppel, third-party beneficiary doctrine, or agency principals);

84 Lumber Co. v. F.H. Paschen, S.N. Nielsen & Associates, LLC, Case No. 2:12cv01748 (USDC E.D. La. July 24, 2013) (granting motions to compel arbitration; contract and tort claims against signatory were subject to arbitration clause, notwithstanding claimant’s fraudulent inducement claim with respect to agreement as a whole; claims against non-signatory would be arbitrated under equitable estoppel);

Uptown Drug Co., Inc. v. CVS Caremark Corp., Case No. 3:12cv06559 (USDC N.D.Cal. July 22, 2013) (granting in part and denying in part motion to compel arbitration; non-signatories could compel arbitration under equitable estoppel of misappropriation of trade secrets claims, which were intertwined with relevant agreement; non-signatories could not compel arbitration of alleged violations of unfair prong of unfair competition law, which were not intertwined with agreement);

National Union Fire Ins. Co. v. Chopper Express, Inc., Case No. 1:13-cv-03129 (USDC S.D.N.Y. June 19, 2013) (granting motion to compel arbitration against signatory; providing petitioner time to submit evidence to show that non-signatory co-respondents were also bound by underlying contract based on corporate relation).

This post written by Michael Wolgin.

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