Second District, Division 2 Decision Motivates Us To Create New Sidebar Category – Arbitration: Automobiles
Our California car economy has spawned a plethora of decision concerning automobiles and arbitration. I have posted on these over the past year. Rather than link now to all the previous posts involving automobiles, I have simply created a new sidebar category – Arbitration: Automobiles. I am confident that we will see more such cases.
In the second appeal in DeSiqueira v. Toyota Motor Insurance Services, Inc., Case No. B237534 (2nd Dist. Div. 2 January 14, 2013) (Boren, P.J., author) (unpublished), the Court of Appeal addressed the argument of an automobile purchaser that the trial court erred by staying his lawsuit and ordering contractual arbitration. Toyota successfully challenged appellate jurisdiction, because an intermediate order compelling arbitration is not a final judgment, and thus is not appealable.
Plaintiff contended that the “death knell” doctrine applied, allowing him to appeal from a trial court’s order that effectively terminated his class claims. However, the “death knell doctrine only applies ‘when it is unlikely the case will proceed as an individual action.’” Szetela v. Discover Bank, 97 Cal.App.4th 1094, 1098 (2002). Here, plaintiff’s argument that he might recover $1,145, coupled with the right to recover fees and costs, undercut any argument that the individual action would not proceed. The death knell did not toll for Weber DeSiqueira.
That left plaintiff with one remaining argument: the Court should treat the purported appeal as a petition for writ of mandate because of exceptional or unusual circumstances. But the Court said that there was nothing exceptional here. Why? “Multiple cases are pending before the Supreme Court involving the issue presented in this appeal, i.e., the effect on state law of the federal decision in Concepcion.”