Friday, December 29, 2017

Arbitral immunity doesn't extend to arbitral advertising

Hopper v. American Arbitration Association, Inc., 2017 WL 6569571, No. 16-55573 (9th Cir. Dec. 7, 2017)

The district court dismissed Hopper’s false advertising claim against AAA based on arbitral immunity, and the court of appeals reversed.  “Arbitral immunity extends to claims that arise out of a decisional act and exists to ‘protect the decision-maker from undue influence and protect the decision-making process from reprisals by dissatisfied litigants.’” But the false advertising claim was “predicated on AAA’s descriptions of its arbitrators disseminated through its website and direct mail. Commercial advertisement, designed to sway individuals to choose AAA over its competitors … is distinct and distant from the decisional act of an arbitrator.”  Allowing the false advertising claim to proceed wouldn’t lead to undue influence over the arbitration process or expose arbitral decisions to reprisals.

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