Lau v. Mercedes Benz USA, LLC et al

Filing 29

ORDER RE QUESTIONS FOR OCTOBER 27, 2011 ORAL ARGUMENT ON MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION. Signed by Judge Maria-Elena James on 10/26/2011. (mejlc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/26/2011)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 Northern District of California 6 7 DON LAU, No. C 11-01940 MEJ Plaintiff, 8 QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ARGUMENT v. 9 MERCEDES-BENZ USA LLC, 10 Defendant. _____________________________________/ 12 For the Northern District of California UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 11 13 Defendant’s Motion to Compel Arbitration is set for hearing before the Court on October 27, 14 2011. The Court has reviewed the parties’ briefs and issues the following questions for the parties to 15 address at the hearing. The list is not exhaustive and is only meant to help guide the parties in 16 presenting their argument to the Court. 17 18 1. Plaintiff’s claim is based in part on breach of express warranty. However, Plaintiff does not 19 include or otherwise identify this warranty or any of its specific terms in its Complaint. Is this 20 warranty separate from the terms of the Retail Installment Sale Contract? 21 22 2. Which, if any, provisions of the Retail Installment Sale Contract are implicated by Plaintiff’s 23 claim? Particularly, in his Opposition, Plaintiff indicates that he is seeking to “unwind” the 24 Installment Contract. 25 26 3. Defendant argues that because Plaintiff is relying on terms in the Installment Contract for its 27 claims against Defendant (a non-signatory), Plaintiff is equitably estopped from disavowing the 28 arbitration provision also contained in the contract. Why doesn’t equitable estoppel apply? 1 4. Relatedly, in its Reply, Defendant cites to an Alabama case - Volkswagen Group of America 2 v. Williams, 64 S.3d 1062 (Ala. Civ. App. 2010) - in which the court analyzed a similar arbitration 3 clause and found under an equitable estoppel theory that Volkswagen could enforce that clause even 4 though it was not a signatory. Because Plaintiff did not have the opportunity to address this case, 5 how does Plaintiff differentiate it? 6 7 5. Defendant argues that the Supreme Court’s decision in Concepcion basically forecloses any 8 unconscionability argument. However, Plaintiff has submitted a recent California decision - Sanchez 9 v. Valencia Holding Company, 2011 WL 5027488 (Cal. App. Oct. 24, 2011) 10 - where the court interprets Concepcion as not changing the unconscionability analysis under 12 - which resembles the one at issue here - to be “permeated with unconscionability.” Id. at *18. How For the Northern District of California UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 11 California law except in class action waiver scenarios. The court also finds that the arbitration clause 13 does Defendant differentiate Sanchez? 14 15 IT IS SO ORDERED. 16 17 Dated: October 26, 2011 _______________________________ Maria-Elena James Chief United States Magistrate Judge 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

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