Law School Case Brief
Norcia v. Samsung Telcoms. Am., LLC - 845 F.3d 1279 (9th Cir. 2017)
Arbitration is a matter of contract and a party cannot be required to submit to arbitration any dispute that he has not agreed so to submit. Therefore, to evaluate a district court's denial of a motion to compel arbitration, the appellate court must first determine whether a valid agreement to arbitrate exists. The party seeking to compel arbitration bears the burden of proving the existence of an agreement to arbitrate by a preponderance of the evidence.
Daniel Norcia filed a class action complaint against Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC, and Samsung Electronics America, Inc., alleging that Samsung made misrepresentations as to the performance of the Galaxy S4 phone. Samsung moved to compel arbitration of the dispute on the ground that an arbitration provision, which was contained in a warranty brochure included in the Galaxy S4 box, was binding on Norcia. The district court's denied Samsung's motion and Samsung appealed.
Did the district court err in denying Samsungs motion to compel arbitration?
The Court affirmed the district court holding that the Product Safety & Warranty Information brochure in the Galaxy S4 box did not create a binding contract between Norcia and Samsung to arbitrate the claims in Norcia's complaint because the contract was one in relation to express consumer warranty and was not applicable for a non-warranty disputes. The court also noted that Norcia did not expressly assent to any agreement in the brochure nor did Norcia sign the brochure or otherwise act in a manner that would show "his intent to use his silence, or failure to opt out, as a means of accepting the arbitration agreement." Samsung did not prove that the cicumstances fell under the exception rather than the general rule.
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