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Patel v. Del Taco, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

February 14, 2006, Argued and Submitted, San Francisco, California ; May 2, 2006, Filed

Nos. 04-16208, 04-16604


 [*997]  HOLLAND, District Judge: In this consolidated appeal, Jagdishbhai and Hansaben Patel ("the Patels") seek review of two orders issued by the district court: 1) an order granting Del Taco's motion to remand and awarding attorney's fees and 2) an order staying the Patels' federal claims and compelling arbitration of those claims. We dismiss the appeal from the remand order based on 28 U.S.C. § 1441 for lack of jurisdiction. We affirm as to the remand order based on 28 U.S.C. § 1443 [**2]  and as to the award of attorney's fees. We also dismiss the appeal from the order staying the federal claims and compelling arbitration of those claims for lack of jurisdiction.


The Patels entered into a franchise agreement with Del Taco, Inc. under which the Patels were to operate a Del Taco restaurant in Hanford, California. The franchise agreement contained an arbitration [*998]  clause that provided that "any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this Agreement, whether such [a] controversy is one of law, fact or both, shall be submitted to arbitration" before the American Arbitration Association ("AAA") in Orange County, California. In 2003, Del Taco accused the Patels of breaching the franchise agreement and initiated arbitration proceedings. Both Del Taco and the AAA served the Patels with a demand for arbitration. Although the Patels' attorney was aware of the hearing, neither the Patels nor their attorney appeared at the arbitration hearing. The arbitrators issued an unanimous award in favor of Del Taco, terminating the franchise agreement and awarding Del Taco over $ 20,000 in damages.

On February 10, 2004, Del Taco filed a petition to confirm [**3]  the arbitration award in Orange County Superior Court. Shortly thereafter, Del Taco filed a motion to confirm the award, and a hearing on the motion was set for March 9, 2004.

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446 F.3d 996 *; 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 10882 **

JAGDISHBHAI and HANSABEN PATEL, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. DEL TACO, INC., Defendant-Appellee.

Prior History:  [**1]  Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. D.C. No. CV-04-05385-REC-SMS. Robert E. Coyle, District Judge, Presiding.


removal, arbitration, state court, district court, attorney's fees, federal claim, remand order, rights, confirm

Civil Procedure, Removal, Elements for Removal, Removability, Postremoval Remands, Appellate Review, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Civil Rights Law, General Overview, Abuse of Discretion, Motions for Remand, Costs & Attorney Fees, Attorney Fees & Expenses, Costs, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Supplemental Jurisdiction, Business & Corporate Compliance, Arbitration, Federal Arbitration Act, Stay Pending Arbitration, Appellate Jurisdiction, Final Judgment Rule, Entry of Judgments, Stays of Judgments, Interlocutory Orders