United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION AND ORDER
MICHAEL W. MOSMAN, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
30, 2019, Defendant AT&T Mobility LLC
("AT&T") filed a Motion to Compel Arbitration
. Plaintiff ("Mr. Birkemeier") opposed the
motion [51, 55]. As discussed below, I agree with Mr.
Birkemeier and DENY Defendant's Motion to Compel
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.  at 6-8.
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
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
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
AT&T argues that the Clause applies to the claims at
issue here.  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.
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.  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.  at 8-9.
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 ...