United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
ALLISON CLAIRE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
is proceeding in this action pro se, and the case was
accordingly referred to the undersigned by Local Rule
302(c)(21). This matter is before the court on a motion to
compel arbitration from the only remaining defendant, Expedia
Travel. ECF No. 63. The court has considered defendant's
motion, plaintiff's opposition (ECF No. 58),
defendant's reply (ECF No. 69), and all related
documents. For the reasons that follow, the undersigned
recommends that defendant's motion be GRANTED, and
because arbitration will resolve all of plaintiff's
claims, that this case be DISMISSED.
initially filed this lawsuit in state court against
defendants British Airways and Expedia Travel, and defendant
British Airways removed the case to this court on March 18,
2016. ECF No. 1. British Airways successfully moved to
dismiss plaintiff's initial and first amended complaints.
ECF Nos. 15 and 25. Plaintiff filed his second amended
complaint (“SAC”) on August 5, 2016.
Plaintiff's SAC alleged that Expedia, which plaintiff
referred to as a “Travel Agency” (ECF No. 26 at
2), “knowingly sold [him] a travel ticket” and
“affirmed there would be a full refund of [the] airline
ticket with proof of a doctors M.D. note or
statement[.]” ECF No. 26 at 4. Plaintiff also attached
what appears to be a bank statement from October 14, 2015
showing a purchase from Expedia in the amount of $1, 257.88.
Id. at 8.
and British Airways stipulated to the dismissal of British
Airways from this case on August 25, 2016. ECF No. 30. An
order was entered dismissing British Airways, but not
Expedia, on August 26, 2016. ECF No. 31. Defendant Expedia
was first summoned in this case on September 20, 2016. ECF
No. 35. Expedia, the only remaining defendant, moved to
dismiss the SAC on October 13, 2016 on the grounds of
insufficient service of process and that the SAC failed to
state a claim. ECF No. 36. Expedia's motion was denied.
ECF Nos. 48 and 52.
denying Expedia's motion to dismiss, the undersigned
found that plaintiff's SAC, liberally construed in light
of his pro se status, stated a claim for breach of contract
and fraud. ECF No. 48 at 5-6. Specifically, the court found
plaintiff's complaint alleged the existence of a
contract, and alleged plaintiff's performance by purchase
of an airline ticket. ECF No. 48 at 5. Plaintiff alleged
damages in a letter attached to his SAC that stated
“The amount to return is $1, 200.00 and some change. I
need this money as soon as possible you have caused injury
from the hardship of unexpected trauma caused by actions I
was not made aware of.” Id.
undersigned also found that the SAC successfully alleged a
fraud claim against Expedia. ECF No. 48 at 6. The court found
that plaintiff's allegations that Expedia failed to
refund his purchased ticket upon receipt of a doctor's
note after it “affirmed there would be a full refund of
[his] airline ticket with proof of a doctors M.D. note”
and “knew the flight scheduled was to possibly be
cancelled due to hardship of medical problem” as
stating a claim of fraud under California law. Id.,
ECF No. 26 at 4. The undersigned's findings and
recommendations were adopted by the District Court judge in
this case over defendant Expedia's objections. ECF Nos.
51 and 52. On September 26, 2017, Expedia filed the instant
motion to compel arbitration. ECF No. 63.
Standard to Compel Arbitration
Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) limits the
district court's role in deciding a motion to compel
arbitration “to determining (1) whether a valid
agreement to arbitrate exists and, if it does (2) whether the
agreement encompasses the dispute at issue.” Cox v.
Ocean View Hotel, Corp., 533 F.3d 1114, 1119 (9th Cir.
2008) (internal citation and quotation omitted). The party
moving to compel arbitration bears the burden of
demonstrating that these two elements are satisfied.
Ashbey v. Archstone Prop. Mgmt., Inc., 785 F.3d
1320, 1323 (9th Cir. 2015). If a valid arbitration agreement
exists, the district court must enforce the arbitration
agreement according to its terms. Lifescan, Inc. v.
Premier Diabetic Servs., Inc., 363 F.3d 1010, 1012 (9th
may, however, waive its right to arbitration. United
States v. Park Place Assocs., Ltd., 563 F.3d
907, 921 (9th Cir. 2009). Waiver of the right to arbitration
is disfavored, and a party asserting waiver bears a heavy
burden of proof. Fisher v. A.G. Becker Paribas Inc.,
791 F.2d 691, 694 (9th Cir. 1986). “A party seeking to
prove waiver of a right to arbitration must demonstrate: (1)
knowledge of an existing right to compel arbitration; (2)
acts inconsistent with that existing right; and (3) prejudice
to the party opposing arbitration resulting from such
inconsistent acts.” Id., Martin v.
Yasuda, 829 F.3d 1118, 1124 (9th Cir. 2016).
right to arbitration is not waved and a court finds it
appropriate to compel arbitration, the court can either stay
or dismiss the pending action. Sparling v. Hoffman
Constr. Co., Inc., 864 F.2d 635, 638 (9th Cir. 1988),
Horne v. Starbucks Corp., No. 216CV02727MCECKD, 2017
WL 2813170, at *3 (E.D. Cal. June 29, 2017). Where all claims
are encompassed by the arbitration agreement, dismissal as
opposed to a stay is proper. Horne, 2017 WL 2813170,
Arbitration Must be Compelled
parties entered into a valid arbitration agreement when
plaintiff purchased an airline ticket from defendant, and
plaintiff's claims are encompassed by the agreement.
Thus, arbitration must be compelled. To determine whether an
arbitration agreement is valid, satisfying the first prong of
the court's analysis, the district court looks to
“general state-law principles of contract
interpretation, while giving due regard to the federal policy
in favor of arbitration.” Wagner v. Stratton
Oakmont, Inc., 83 F.3d 1046, 1049 (9th Cir. 1996),
Villarreal v. Perfection Pet Foods, LLC, No.
116CV01661LJOEPG, 2017 WL 1353802, at *4 (E.D. Cal. Apr. 10,
2017). Because the agreement to arbitrate is a contract, a
court will not grant a motion to compel arbitration unless it
finds that there is a “clear ...