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Slow Down You’re Moving Too Fast: Third Circuit Directs District Court to Resolve Motion to Compel Arbitration Before Motion to Dismiss

Slow Down You’re Moving Too Fast: Third Circuit Directs District Court to Resolve Motion to Compel Arbitration Before Motion to Dismiss

In a recent decision, the Third Circuit made it abundantly clear that a motion to compel arbitration must be decided before a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Joshua Silfee filed a lawsuit against ERG Staffing Service, his former employer, in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, claiming the company’s payroll policies violated state law because workers were required to use a fee-carrying debit card. ERG filed a motion to compel arbitration pursuant to Section 4 of the Federal Arbitration Act, asserting that the arbitration agreement between Silfee and ERG’s payroll vendor precluded the suit against ERG. ERG also filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss Silfee’s complaint based on the merits of his state law claims against the company. The district court decided to delay consideration of ERG’s motion to compel arbitration and denied the company’s motion to dismiss the case. ERG appealed. The Third Circuit concluded that the district judge erred in delaying the arbitrability inquiry, explaining that arbitrability is a “gateway” issue and that, after a motion to compel arbitration is filed, a court “must refrain from further action until it determines arbitrability.” The Third Circuit noted that “[t]he seeds of the District Court’s confusion may have been sown...

Data Breach Victims Grounded: Third Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Putative Class Action Based on Economic-Loss Doctrine and Absence of Explicit Contractual Obligations 0

Data Breach Victims Grounded: Third Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Putative Class Action Based on Economic-Loss Doctrine and Absence of Explicit Contractual Obligations

The Third Circuit’s recent decision affirming the district court’s dismissal of a proposed class action in its entirety highlights the difficulties faced by Plaintiffs pursuing data-security class actions in situations where the claims are not based upon explicit contractual language. This is an important decision for defense counsel to keep in mind in considering options to get rid of a class action before it takes off.

Third Circuit Holds Non-Signatories May Be Bound By Forum Selection Clause 0

Third Circuit Holds Non-Signatories May Be Bound By Forum Selection Clause

In Carlyle Investment Management LLC v. Moonmouth Co., the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit concluded that a non-signatory to an agreement can be bound by a forum selection clause where the forum selection clause is valid, the non-signatory is a third-party beneficiary of the agreement or closely related to the agreement, and the claim arises from the non-signatory’s status related to the agreement.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Concludes That Dissenting Shareholders’ Post-Merger Recourse Is Limited to Judicial Appraisal 0

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Concludes That Dissenting Shareholders’ Post-Merger Recourse Is Limited to Judicial Appraisal

As discussed in a previous post, the Third Circuit’s August 2012 ruling in Mitchell Partners, L.P. v. Irex Corp. predicted that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would “permit a post-merger suit for damages based on the majority shareholders’ breach of their fiduciary duties.” As a result, the Third Circuit concluded that Pennsylvania’s appraisal statute did not preclude dissenting minority shareholders who are “squeezed out” in a merger from seeking remedies beyond the appraisal remedies provided in the statute. However, on certification, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court concluded that minority shareholders who oppose a merger have no recourse — in the absence of fraud or fundamental unfairness — other than to seek judicial appraisal of the value of their post-merger shares.

Minority Shareholders Not Precluded From Seeking Damages for Majority Shareholders’ Post-Merger Breaches of Fiduciary Duty 0

Minority Shareholders Not Precluded From Seeking Damages for Majority Shareholders’ Post-Merger Breaches of Fiduciary Duty

In Mitchell Partners, L.P. v. Irex Corporation, et al., the Third Circuit concluded that Pennsylvania’s appraisal statute does not preclude dissenting minority shareholders who are “squeezed out” in a merger from seeking remedies beyond the appraisal remedies provided in the statute. In the precedential ruling, the Third Circuit predicted that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania would “permit a post-merger suit for damages based on the majority shareholders’ breach of their fiduciary duties.”