Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Birkemeier v. At&T Mobility LLC

United States District Court, D. Oregon

October 7, 2019

BRENT BIRKEMEIER, an individual, Plaintiff,
v.
AT&T MOBILITY LLC, a foreign corporation, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          MICHAEL W. MOSMAN, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On July 30, 2019, Defendant AT&T Mobility LLC ("AT&T") filed a Motion to Compel Arbitration [47]. Plaintiff ("Mr. Birkemeier") opposed the motion [51, 55]. As discussed below, I agree with Mr. Birkemeier and DENY Defendant's Motion to Compel Arbitration.

         BACKGROUND

         This case concerns Mr. Birkemeier's claims for strict product liability and negligence arising out of burn injuries sustained when Mr. Birkemeier's cell phone charger case allegedly exploded in his lap. Compl. [ECF 1-Attach. 1] at 2. Mr. Birkemeier's wife purchased the charger case from an AT&T retail store in 2013. Id. at 1. She gave it to Mr. Birkemeier to use in 2017 after she purchased an Apple iPhone SE ("the phone") for her husband. Id. at 2. Both Mr. Birkemeier and his wife received AT&T cell phone service through their daughter's family plan. Def's Mot. to Compel Arbitration [ECF 47] at 3-4. The service agreement ("the Agreement") for the cell phone plan included an arbitration clause ("the Clause"), which AT&T argues should require arbitration in this case. [47] at 6-8.

         The Clause provides, in relevant part:

1.2 Arbitration Agreement.
(1) AT&T and you agree to arbitrate all disputes and claims between us. This agreement to arbitrate is intended to be broadly interpreted. It includes, but is not limited to:
• claims arising out of or relating to any aspect of the relationship between us, whether based in contract, tort, statute, fraud, misrepresentation or any other legal theory;
• claims that may arise after the termination of this Agreement.
References to "AT&T," "you," and "us" include our respective subsidiaries, affiliates, agents, employees, predecessors in interest, successors, and assigns, as well as all authorized or unauthorized users or beneficiaries of services or devices under this or prior Agreements between us . . . This Agreement evidences a transaction in interstate commerce, and thus the Federal Arbitration Act governs the interpretation and enforcement of this provision.

Credit Sale Contract et al. [ECF 48-Attach. 5] at 7-8.[1] The only "device" listed on the service agreement is the Samsung SM-G891A phone that belonged to Mr. Birkemeier's daughter and that is not at issue in this case. Id. at 1. It does not reference a charging case. Id.

         Nevertheless, AT&T argues that the Clause applies to the claims at issue here. [47] at 6- 8. It argues that the Clause applies to any claims "arising out of or related to" the relationship between AT&T and the parties to the service contract and that Mr. Birkemeier's claims arise out of that relationship. Id. at 8. It argues that the Federal Arbitration Act imposes a strong presumption in favor of arbitration and requires that the Clause be interpreted broadly. Id. at 6 And although the Agreement does not explicitly reference the charger case, AT&T argues that the Clause relates to any claims arising from Mr. Birkemeier's injuries because the phone was in the case at the time it exploded. Reply in Supp. of Mot. to Compel Arbitration [ECF 62] at 9.

         In response, Mr. Birkemeier first argues that no contract governed the purchase of the charging case. Am. Resp. in Opp'n to Mot. to Compel Arbitration [ECF 55] at 7. He argues that neither he nor his family members entered into a contract at the time his wife purchased the charger case and that the 2017 service agreement covers only the phone and Mr. Birkemeier's phone service. [55] at 12-14. Accordingly, Mr. Birkemeier argues, any lawsuit regarding the charging case falls outside the scope of the Clause. Second, Mr. Birkemeier argues that the Clause is not valid as applied to Mr. Birkemeier, both because the record contains no evidence that Mr. Birkemeier's daughter signed it and because Mr. Birkemeier was merely a third-party beneficiary of the Clause. [55] at 8-9.

         For reasons outlined below, I agree with Mr. Birkemeier that the charging case falls outside the scope of the Clause. Arbitration is therefore not mandatory to resolve Mr. Birkemeier's claims for strict ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.