Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

National Bank of California, Na, A National Banking v. andrew G. Gay

June 29, 2011

NATIONAL BANK OF CALIFORNIA, NA, A NATIONAL BANKING ASSOCIATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ANDREW G. GAY, AN INDIVIDUAL, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew Senior, U.S. District Court Judge

ORDER Re: Plaintiff's Motion for Order Compelling Arbitration [1]

Plaintiff National Bank of California, NA's Motion for Order Compelling Arbitration was set for hearing on May 17, 2011 [1]. Having taken the matter under submission on May 16, 2011 and having reviewed all papers submitted pertaining to this Motion the Court NOW FINDS AND RULES AS FOLLOWS:

The Court GRANTS Plaintiff National Bank of California, NA's Motion for an Order Compelling Arbitration.

As a preliminary matter, the Court OVERRULES the evidentiary objections submitted by Plaintiff National Bank of California, NA ("Plaintiff") in connection with this Motion. The Court DENIES Defendant Andrew G. Gay's ("Defendant") Request for Judicial Notice pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 201. Fed. R. Evid. 201.

A. Legal Standard

The Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA") governs arbitration agreements in contracts that involve interstate commerce. See 9 U.S.C. § 1. Under the FAA, any party bound to an arbitration agreement that falls within the scope of the FAA may bring a motion in federal district court to compel arbitration when the other party "unequivocally refuses to arbitrate." PaineWebber, Inc. v. Faragalli, 61 F.3d 1063, 1066 (3rd Cir. 1995). See 9 U.S.C. § 4.

The FAA sets forth that arbitration agreements "shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon any grounds that exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract." 9 U.S.C. § 2. Therefore, in ruling on a motion to compel arbitration, the Court may not review the merits of the dispute, but must limit its inquiry only as to whether: (1) there is an agreement to arbitrate; (2) there are arbitrable claims; and (3) there has been a waiver of the right to arbitrate by the moving party or other defense to arbitration. See Chiron Corp. v. Ortho Diagnostic Sys., Inc., 207 F.3d 1126, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000).

B. Plaintiff's Motion To Compel Arbitration

Plaintiff brings this current Motion in order to compel the arbitration of claims brought by Defendant against Plaintiff in Andrew Gay, Esq. v. Rumson Capital, LP, et al., Case No. 101100391, an action that is currently pending in the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (the "Philadelphia Action").

As a threshold matter, the FAA alone is insufficient to confer federal jurisdiction, as it does not confer federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Circuit City Stores, Inc. v. Najd, 294 F.3d 1104, 1106 (9th Cir. 2002). As such, "there must be diversity of citizenship or some other independent basis for federal jurisdiction" in order for the Court to have jurisdiction here over this matter. Moses H. Cone Mem. Hosp. v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 25 n.32 (1983).

The Court finds that diversity jurisdiction exists here. Specifically, Plaintiff sets forth sufficient facts establishing that Plaintiff and Defendant, the only Parties in this Action, are diverse and that the jurisdictional minimum is satisfied here. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). As such, the Court finds that diversity jurisdiction exists here and that the Court therefore has jurisdiction over this Action.

1. The Arbitration Agreement Is Valid And Enforceable

Here, the Parties do not dispute the existence of a written agreement between the Parties, the Promissory Note ("Note") executed by the Parties in August 2008, nor do they dispute that this Note concerns interstate commerce and contains an arbitration agreement. Moreover, the Parties do not dispute that the claims at issue between the Parties in the pending Philadelphia Action fall within the scope of this arbitration agreement and are therefore arbitrable. Instead, Defendant asserts here that the arbitration agreement is unenforceable because it is both procedurally and substantively unconscionable. As such, the only issue before this Court is whether the arbitration agreement is valid and enforceable.

While federal policy favors arbitration agreements, arbitration agreements are subject to generally applicable contract defenses such as fraud, duress, or unconscionability. Ticknor v. Choice Hotels Int'l, Inc., 265 F.3d 931, 936-37 (9th Cir. 2001). As such, state law governs issues concerning the validity and enforceability of an arbitration agreement. See Gelow v. Central Pacific Mortg. Corp., 560 F. Supp. 2d 972, 979 (E.D. Cal. 2008)(noting that "[a]n arbitration agreement that falls within the ambit of the FAA is nevertheless unenforceable if it is unconscionable under state law"). Here, the Note contains an express choice of law provision stating that California law is to apply, and the Parties do not dispute the validity of this choice ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.