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Choice of law clauses in maritime contracts are presumptively enforceable as a matter of federal admiralty law just as forum selection clauses in those contracts are generally enforceable.  Choice of law clauses in maritime contracts are unenforceable only when they contravene a federal statute or conflict with established federal maritime policy or when the parties cannot furnish a reasonable basis… Read More

This decision affirms the CFPB's judgment against CashCall under 12 U.S.C. § 5536(a)(1)(B) which prohibits unfair, deceptive or abusive acts or practices in consumer finance.  CashCall made loans to consumers at rates that were usurious under the laws of the states where they resided, attempting to circumvent those laws by a choice of Indian tribal law in its loan agreements. … Read More

Despite CCP 1710.40'sopen-ended list of potential defenses to a sister state judgment, under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, the statute does not and cannot create an opportunity to raise defenses to the merits of the underlying claims resolved in the sister state judgment. Thus, defenses based on a contract's arbitration, forum selection and choice of law clause could not… Read More

The California Arbitration Act governs procedure in state court in compelling arbitration even when the FAA governs the substantive rules regarding arbitration.  Under CCP 1281.2(c), a trial court has discretion to deny arbitration if a party to the arbitration agreement is also a party to a pending court action with a third party, "arising out of the same transaction or… Read More

The trial court prejudicially erred in this asbestosis case in giving a causation instruction based on California law.  In an earlier writ proceeding, the Court of Appeal had held that Michigan law applies to this case, at least as against Marley-Wylain because the plaintiff worked in Michigan while employed by Marley-Wylain and was exposed to asbestos in Michigan during that… Read More

Distinguishing Monster Energy Co. v. City Beverages, LLC (9th Cir. 2019) 940 F.3d 1130 as interpreting federal, not California law, and involving a one-time litigant against a repeat player, this decision holds that in a commercial, non-consumer, arbitration, California law does not require an arbitrator to disclose his 0.1 percent interest in JAMS.  Arbitrators are required to disclose their relationship… Read More

Under the Rest.2d Conflicts of Law's most significant relationship test, the law of the state of incorporation governs a directors and officers liability policy rather than the law of the state where the corporate headquarters are located.  The state of incorporation's law governs the directors' and officers' duties to the corporation, so it is logical that the same state's law… Read More

Plaintiff was a licensed solicitor in London and the subject of disciplinary proceedings before the independent regulatory body that governs solicitors and barristers in the UK.  He traveled to California and then claimed he was too ill to return to the UK, so an adjournment of the disciplinary proceedings should be continued.  Defendant, a doctor, was appointed as a neutral… Read More

Federal common law governs the effect of a federal court's judgment on federal law claims (Taylor v. Sturgell (2008) 553 U.S. 880, 891) whereas state law governs the res judicata effect of a federal court's judgment on state law claims when exercising diversity jurisdiction (Semtek Internat. Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corp. (2001) 531 U.S. 497, 507).  It is unclear which… Read More

This decision refuses to enforce a Utah choice of law clause in a credit card agreement, the credit card having been used to buy a motorcycle in California.  While the choice of Utah law was reasonable since that is where the card issuer was located, application of Utah law would offend fundamental California public policy as expressed in McGill v.… Read More

Following the en banc decision in In re Hyundai & Kia Fuel Econ. Litig. (Espinoza v. Ahearn) (9th Cir. 2019) 926 F.3d 539, this decision holds that the district court did not abuse its discretion in avoiding a detailed analysis of varying applicable state laws in certifying a setlttement-only class in this case.  That was particularly true as one of… Read More

Applying Singapore law in accordance with a stock purchase agreement's choice of law clause, this decision holds that the employer did not breach that agreement when it bought back the employee's stock after having fired him.  The agreement provided for an employer buy back at market value of the stock if the employee left employment voluntarily or involuntarily for any… Read More

Delaware law permitting choice-of-forum bylaws is enforceable in California even if no shareholder consent is obtained for the bylaw and even though the bylaw is adopted after the allegedly wrongful conduct has occurred. Read More

After an Indiana-based bus manufacturer was dismissed from the case, California law governed Chinese bus passengers’ claims against a California-based bus distributor for injuries sustained when the bus overturned in Arizona; only California had a governmental interest in application of its law.  Read More