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Johnson v. Consumerinfo.Com, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

March 20, 2014

JAMES JOHNSON, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
CONSUMERINFO.COM, INC., Defendant-Appellee. STEVEN GROSZ, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
CONSUMERINFO.COM, INC., Defendant-Appellee. DEON BIRD, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated; BARBARA PRICE, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
CONSUMERINFO.COM, INC., Defendant-Appellee. DAVID WARING, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
CONSUMERINFO.COM, INC., Defendant-Appellee

Argued and Submitted February 3, 2014, Pasadena, California

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. D.C. No. 2:11-cv-02753-JVS-FMO. D.C. No. 8:11-cv-00550-JVS-FMO. D.C. No. 8:11-cv-00618-JVS-FMO. D.C. No. 8:11-cv-00639-JVS-FMO. James V. Selna, District Judge, Presiding.

Vincent J. Esades, David Woodward (argued), and Renae D. Steiner, Heins Mills & Olson, P.L.C., Minneapolis, Minnesota; Gretchen M. Nelson and Gabriel Barenfeld, Kreindler & Kreindler, LLP, Los Angeles, California, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Meir Feder (argued), Jones Day, New York, New York; Richard J. Grabowski, Marc K. Callahan, Kevin H. Logan, and Cyrus A. Ameri, Jones Day, Irvine, California, for Defendant-Appellee.

Before: Andrew J. Kleinfeld, Barry G. Silverman, and Andrew D. Hurwitz, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge Hurwitz.

OPINION

HURWITZ, Circuit Judge.

Page 1020

The issue for decision in these four putative class actions is whether we have jurisdiction to hear appeals from district court orders staying judicial proceedings and compelling arbitration of the named plaintiffs' individual claims. We hold that 9 U.S.C. § 16 bars such appeals.

I

In Internet transactions, James Johnson, Steven Grosz, David Waring, Deon Bird, and Barbara Prince (collectively " plaintiffs" ) each purchased a " Triple Advantage" credit report monitoring program from Consumerinfo.com, Inc. (" Consumerinfo" ). The Terms and Conditions of the purchases included a clause requiring arbitration of all claims and disputes.

In 2011, plaintiffs each filed a putative class action in the Central District of California, alleging that Consumerinfo had violated various California consumer protection laws. Consumerinfo filed motions to

Page 1021

compel arbitration in each case. The district court concluded that plaintiffs had assented to the arbitration agreements, that Consumerinfo had not committed fraud in the execution, that any fraud in the inducement defense must be resolved by an arbitrator, that federal law foreclosed an effective vindication of statutory rights defense, and that the arbitration agreements were not unconscionable. The district court then stayed the actions, compelled individual arbitration of each plaintiff's claims, and denied ...


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