Friday, August 12, 2005

Circuit City v. Mentor (9th Cir. - Aug. 3, 2005)

Give it up, Circuit City. Ain't gonna happen. You too, Judge Real. Get wise.

Long ago, in 2001, Circuit City was sued by Mentor for wrongful termination, and Circuit City moved to compel arbitration. Judge Real granted the petition, but in 2003, the Ninth Circuit reversed, holding that the arbitration provision was both procedurally and substantively unconscionable. The Supreme Court denied certiorari (without a single vote in dissent, by the way), so the case goes back to the district court pursuant to the Ninth Circuit's mandate that requires the suit to continue.

But then Circuit City filed a "renewed petition to compel arbitration" based upon alleged intervening precedent. And, yet again, Judge Real compels arbitration.

The net result? Yet again, the Ninth Circuit reverses, and again orders the litigation to continue. And finds the case so easy to resolve that it doesn't even allow oral argument. Just, by the way, like it didn't allow oral argument the first time. Same panel. Same result.

So Circuit City essentially spends a boatload of attorney's fees in order to (1) create multiple bad precedents, and (2) obtain utterly no relief (indeed, has relief -- including a cost award -- granted against it). All this, mind you, in a presumably tiny wrongful termination dispute. Not really a massively effective use of resources.