Plaintiff Alston, the founder of GB, brought a private equity firm into GB in exchange for the firm’s investment in GB to help build the company. Fast forward -- Alston is terminated by GB as a director, and sues GB and two executives, alleging misrepresentation, declaratory relief, defamation, interference, and wrongful termination. Because Alston has an arbitration agreement with GB, defendants successfully move to compel arbitration. Arbitration does not go well for Alston, who unsuccessfully petitions to vacate an adverse award. Alston timely appeals from judgment, arguing the trial court erred by sending the entire case to arbitration. Alston v. Hoge, A139778 (1/1 July 29, 2014) (Margulies, Dondero, Banke) (unpublished).
Alston’s chief argument on appeal is that the executives, who are not signatories to his agreement with GB, cannot enforce the arbitration agreement. However, the Court of Appeal disagrees, relying on the principle, “that agents of a signatory party, sued in that capacity by another party to an agreement, are entitled to the benefit of the agreement’s arbitration provisions.”
The remaining issue was whether the scope of the arbitration agreement was sufficiently broad to cover all of Alston’s claims. Yes: “The arbitration agreement in this case covered all claims, disputes, and controversies of any nature arising out of or relating to (1) the Agreement; (2) the interpretation, enforcement, breach, performance, or execution of the Agreement; and (3) Alston’s ‘relationship’ with GB or the termination of that relationship.”
A simple affirmance of the judgment.