9th Circuit Contract Law News - U.S. Ninth Circuit
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A few years back, a firestorm hit the Internet -- and by a firestorm, I mean a fire sale. A tablet, with specifications on par with the high-end Apple and Android devices of the time, priced at $499.99 to $599.99, would go on sale for as low as $99, as HP had decided to scrap its Touchpad line a mere month after it launched.

Unsurprisingly, every retailer in the world sold out of Touchpads within hours. HP's now-dead tablet was the second-best seller of the year behind the iPad. And a few disgruntled customers, who had placed orders online, were left with nothing but sadness and a cancellation email when retailers like Barnes & Noble oversold their inventory.

Well, sadness and a lawsuit, that is. And an interesting issue of shrinkwrap/clickwrap/browsewrap contracts.

Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg enrolled in Northwest Airlines' frequent flyer program and attained "Platinum Elite" status, the highest level, in 2005. Three years later, Northwest revoked his membership in the frequent flyer program because, according to the airline, he'd abused the program.

Ginsberg sued Northwest in federal court alleging breach of contract, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, negligent misrepresentation, and intentional misrepresentation. The district court held that all of the claims, except for breach of contract, were pre-empted by the Airline Deregulation Act ("ADA"), and dismissed the breach of contract claim, without prejudice, for failure to state a claim.

A gaggle of angry social networking professionals claim that LinkedIn "hacked" their email accounts, leading to a deluge of emails to their contact lists with invitations to connect with them on the social network, complete with their photo, name, and implied endorsement. They want the email spamming to stop.

LinkedIn, meanwhile, wants this litigation to stop, and argued in a motion to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh (the judge who seems to be the de facto tech trial judge in Silicon Valley, who presided over the Apple v. Samsung trial and a Google privacy dispute, amongst others) that users gave them permission to access their email accounts.

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, of the Ninth Circuit, bench-slaps lawyers and crashes class-action settlements on a semi-regular basis. This, however, was something different, as Kozinski's wrath wasn't felt from the bench -- he was an objecting plaintiff.

Nissan makes the Leaf, an all-electric car with an alleged 100-mile range. Unfortunately, the battery packs seem to either be partially defective, or simply have a shorter range than promised. Kozinski and his wife, Marcy Tiffany, purchased a 2011 Nissan Leaf, and the range wasn't even sufficient to make the 80-mile trek home, leaving them plugged in to a charger at a dealership fifteen miles short of their destination.

In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began a formal investigation into claims that 2010 Toyota Prius vehicles were experiencing momentary loss of braking capability. A few days later, Toyota announced a voluntary recall of the affected Prii and 2010 Lexus HS 250h vehicles to repair a software glitch that was the alleged culprit. According to the Plaintiffs, Toyota knew about the issues as early as June 2009 but did nothing.

The vehicles were purchased pursuant to written agreements with independent dealerships. Each agreement included a broad arbitration clause that allowed either party to choose arbitration, and allowed the arbitrator to decide the scope of the arbitration. The agreements also waived the right to participate in class action litigation.

Ninth Circuit Reduces Bratz Award, Tells Toymakers to 'Play Nice'

Bratz and Barbies may be friends in the toy box, but they're bitter enemies in the courtroom.

This week, the Bratz were back in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals again, in an appeal challenging the damages from the retrial of the last round of litigation over the dolls. Got that?

If not, we'll recap the pertinent details.

Bruce Matthews Loses NFL Lawsuit, Cal Workers' Comp Claim

Bruce Matthews played football in the National Football League (NFL) for 19 years, first for the Houston Oilers and later for its successor team, the Tennessee Titans (Titans). He retired in 2002. In 2008, Matthews filed for workers’ compensation benefits in California.

Matthews claimed pain and disability resulting from injuries incurred while he was employed by the NFL at “various” locations over years of “playing and practicing professional football.” He didn’t allege that he sustained any particular injury in California.

Ninth Circuit Halts Oil-for-Food Contracts Lawsuit

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals made it harder for plaintiffs to enforce contracts against countries claiming sovereign immunity this week.

In a 2-1 panel decision, the court concluded that Iraq is not liable for the end of two oil-for-food contracts dating from the Saddam Hussein regime, and that the current Iraqi government is insulated from liability under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) because the case did not involve "legally significant" U.S. commercial activity, reports Reuters.

Court Says Foreign Arbitration Clause Barred by Carmack Amendment

Did Southern California movers attempt to privatize Operation Fast and Furious by shipping a client’s guns, which were supposed to be in storage, to his new home in the Middle East?

Gary Smallwood contracted with Allied Van Lines, Inc. and SIRVA, Inc. (collectively, AVL) to move some of his household goods from southern California to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and to move the remainder of the goods — including a box full of firearms and ammunition — to storage.

Instead, AVL shipped his weapons to the UAE. When UAE officials discovered Smallwood’s weapons, they arrested him, imprisoned him for 11 days and tricked him into pleading guilty to smuggling firearms.

Winklevi and Divya Narendra Call it Quits on Facebook Lawsuit

It looks like the "Winklevi" got the memo; party's over folks.

Finally, the two brothers are calling an end to the Facebook lawsuit and taking the hint that the Supreme Court is unlikely to review their Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case, which was rendered in San Francisco earlier this year.

At least that's what they said in a filing at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this week, reports Reuters.