United States District Court, E.D. California
PHILADELPHIA INDEMNITY INSURANCE COMPANY, a Pennsylvania corporation, Petitioner,
THE CITY OF FRESNO, a municipal corporation, Respondent.
ORDER GRANTING PETITIONER’S PETITION TO COMPEL
A. MENDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUEGE.
Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company
(“Philadelphia”) petitions the Court for an order
compelling The City of Fresno (“Fresno”) to
proceed to arbitration in accordance with an alleged
arbitration agreement. For the reasons stated below, the
Court grants the petition and orders Fresno to proceed with
FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
through SMG Holdings, Inc., entered into a licensing
agreement with the California Association of Future Farmers
of America (“Future Farmers”) for Future Farmers
to use a portion of the Fresno Convention and Entertainment
Center. Petition to Compel Arbitration
(“Petition”) (Doc. #1) ¶ 5. The licensing
agreement required Future Farmers to obtain liability
insurance. Id. In accordance with this requirement,
Future Farmers entered into a liability insurance policy with
Philadelphia (the “Future Farmers Policy”).
Id. ¶ 8. The Future Farmers Policy states that
either party may demand arbitration if a dispute arises over
the scope of coverage. Id. ¶ 10.
April 2013, Timothy Sailors (“Sailors”) allegedly
slipped and fell in the parking lot of the Fresno Convention
Center on his way to a Future Farmers event. Id.
¶ 7; Memorandum (“Memo”) (Doc. #7) at 2.
Sailors and his employer, Reef Sunset Unified School District
(“Reef”), sued Fresno to recover for his injuries
and for the employment benefits Reef paid to Sailors after he
was injured. Petition ¶¶ 6-7. The cases were
consolidated and Future Farmers was added as a defendant.
Id. ¶ 6.
has demanded that Philadelphia defend and indemnify Fresno
pursuant to the Future Farmers Policy because Fresno contends
it is an additional insured under the Policy. Memo at 2.
Philadelphia has refused to defend or indemnify Fresno.
Id. Philadelphia believes that the dispute over
whether Philadelphia must indemnify Fresno should be
submitted to arbitration in accordance with the arbitration
clause of the Future Farmers Policy. Id. Fresno has
declined to acknowledge the arbitration requirement.
Id. Philadelphia now moves for an order requiring
Fresno to submit the coverage dispute to binding arbitration
pursuant to the arbitration clause in the Future Farmers
Policy. Petition ¶ 11. Fresno did not oppose
submitted a request for judicial notice (“RJN”)
(Doc. #9) of the following items: (1) Philadelphia’s
petition to compel arbitration filed in this action on March
9, 2016 (RJN, Exh. #1); (2) the first amended complaint in
Sailors v. City of Fresno, Fresno Superior Court
Action No. 14 CE CG 00069 MBS (RJN, Exh. #2); and (3) the
complaint in Reef Sunset Unified School District v. City
of Fresno, Fresno Superior Court Action No. 14 CE CG
00807 (RJN, Exh. #3). Fresno did not oppose
Philadelphia’s request for judicial notice.
may take judicial notice of a fact that is not reasonably
disputed if it “can be accurately and readily
determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be
questioned.” Fed.R.Evid. 201(b)(2). Courts are allowed
to take judicial notice of “matters of public
record.” Northstar Fin. Advisors Inc. v. Schwab
Investments, 779 F.3d 1036, 1042 (9th Cir. 2015). Since
all three exhibits are part of the public record and are not
subject to reasonable dispute, the Court takes judicial
notice of all three exhibits.
permits a party “aggrieved by the alleged failure,
neglect, or refusal of another to arbitrate” in
accordance with a written arbitration agreement to petition a
district court for an order directing the parties to proceed
to arbitration. 9 U.S.C. § 4. When deciding such a
petition, the court’s sole role is “determining
 whether a valid arbitration agreement exists and, if so,
 whether the agreement encompasses the dispute at
issue.” Lifescan, Inc. v. Premier Diabetic Sevs.,
Inc., 363 F.3d 1010, 1012 (9th Cir. 2004). There is a
“strong federal policy favoring arbitral dispute
resolution, ” Simula, Inc. v. Autoliv, Inc.,
175 F.3d 716, 720 (9th Cir. 1999), and courts have been
directed to resolve “any doubts concerning the scope of
arbitrable issues . . . in favor of arbitration.”
Moses H. Cone Mem’l Hosp. v. Mercury Const.
Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 24-25 (1983). As such, the Supreme
Court has held that a party seeking to avoid arbitration
under the FAA bears the burden of proving that the claims are
unsuitable for arbitration. Green Tree Fin. Corp.-Alabama
v. Randolph, 531 U.S. 79, 91-92 (2000).
noted above, Fresno did not oppose Philadelphia’s
petition to compel arbitration and therefore failed to
challenge “the strong federal policy favoring arbitral
dispute resolution.” Simula, 175 F.3d at 720. On that
basis alone, the Court could grant Philadelphia’s
petition. Green Tree Fin, 531 U.S. at 91 (“the
party resisting arbitration bears the burden of proving that
the claims at issue are unsuitable for arbitration.”).
Still, the Court must analyze whether the ...