BSCR Firm News/Blogs Feed Jul 2024 00:00:00 -0800firmwise to Arbitration, Maybe Not. Courts Must Resolve Conflict of Arbitration Provisions when Parties Enter Multiple Contracts Jul 2024Financial Services Law Blog<p>ABSTRACT: Who decides whether the parties have agreed to arbitrate? The Supreme Court determines that a court must decide which contract&rsquo;s arbitration provision applies when parties have entered into multiple contracts with conflicting arbitration agreements.</p> <div> <p>In May, the Supreme Court issued a decision in <a href="">COINBASE, INC. v. SUSKI</a> determining that a court must resolve conflicts regarding which contract governs where the parties have agreed to multiple conflicting contracts.</p> <p>Coinbase is an operator of a cryptocurrency exchange platform.&nbsp;Suski, and other respondents, was a user of Coinbase&rsquo;s cryptocurrency platform.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>The First Contract</b></p> <p>Coinbase users entered into a User Agreement when they created their accounts. The User Agreement contained an arbitration provision with a delegation clause<a href="#_ftn1" name="_ftnref1">[1]</a>, detailing that an arbitrator must decide disputes under the contract, including whether a given disagreement is subject to the arbitration agreement.</p> <p><b>The Second Contract</b></p> <p>Coinbase ran a promotional sweepstakes for its user.&nbsp;The Official Rules for the promotional sweepstakes included a forum selection clause which provided that California courts &ldquo;shall have sole jurisdiction of any controversies&rdquo; regarding the promotion.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>The Underlying Litigation</b></p> <p>Class action litigation, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, was commenced against Coinbase related to the promotional sweepstakes alleging numerous violations of California&rsquo;s consumer protection laws. Coinbase moved to compel arbitration based upon the User Agreement.&nbsp;The District Court determined that the Official Rules for the promotion controlled over the issues of the class action dispute, and denied the motion to compel arbitration.&nbsp;The Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court; the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case to resolve a novel kind of dispute regarding arbitrability, calling this a fourth order dispute.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>The Fourth Order Dispute</b></p> <p>The Court&rsquo;s opinion explained that parties can form multiple levels of agreement regarding arbitration, and thus can have different levels of dispute needing resolution.&nbsp;The merits of the dispute is a first-order disagreement.&nbsp;Whether the parties have agreed to arbitrate the merits of the underlying dispute is a second-order dispute.&nbsp;A third-order dispute is a question of who has the primary authority to decide the question of arbitrability.&nbsp;Here, the Court needed to resolve what happens if parties have multiple contracts that conflict regarding the third-order dispute.</p> <p><b>The Court&rsquo;s Opinion</b></p> <p>Justice Jackson, relying on basic legal principles of contract law, delivered the opinion of a unanimous court holding that where parties have agreed to two conflicting contracts, a court must answer the question of which contract controls the dispute. Arbitration is a matter of contract and consent; disputes are subject to arbitration if, and only if, the parties actually agreed to arbitrate those disputes.&nbsp;Before either the delegation provision or the forum selection clause can be enforced, a court needs to determine what the parties have actually agreed to. In this case, the court must resolve which contract controls the dispute; the Supreme Court affirmed the District Court&rsquo;s and Ninth Circuit&rsquo;s determination that the Official Rules governed over the dispute, and therefore the matter was properly before a California court pursuant to the forum selection clause.</p> <p>Specifically, the Supreme Court concluded that a court, not an arbitrator, must decide whether the parties&rsquo; first contract is superseded by their second.</p> <p><b><i>What to Expect</i></b></p> What does the Court&rsquo;s decision mean for you?&nbsp;The Coinbase decision is a good reminder to be vigilant and exacting in preparing your contract documents.&nbsp;When preparing subsequent documents make sure you don&rsquo;t contradict your own desired outcome. <div><hr align="left" size="1" width="33%" /> <div id="ftn1"> <p><a href="#ftn1" name="_ftn1">[1]</a> A delegation clause identifies the person responsible for resolving questions of whether the dispute requires arbitration under the arbitration agreement.</p> </div> </div> </div> Associate, Kansas City Jul 2024Job OpeningsOur Kansas City office has an opportunity for an associate with at least five years of experience in all phases of insurance defense and insurance coverage cases. View the job description <a href=""><span style="color: rgb(204, 0, 0);">here</span></a>. Baker Sterchi Professionals Recognized as Missouri Lawyers Media Unsung Legal Heroes Jul 2024Recognition<p>Baker Sterchi Cowden &amp; Rice professionals Beau Gailey and Stephanie Henshaw have been named 2024 Unsung Legal Heroes by Missouri Lawyers Media. This award is presented annually to recognize law firm professionals who consistently go above and beyond the call of duty, often behind the scenes.</p> <p>Gailey, IT Operations Manager, was recognized in the information technology category. He has been with Baker Sterchi for three years. Located in the firm&rsquo;s Kansas City office, he oversees network infrastructure and system functionality, ensuring they are secure and reliable while also supporting users with various technology issues.</p> <p>Henshaw, recognized in the accounting category, has been with Baker Sterchi for 11 years. Currently Director of Accounting, she started as a staff member in the accounting department and rose through the ranks. Based out of the firm&rsquo;s Kansas City office, Henshaw oversees a team of nine employees. Outside the firm, she is a member of the Kansas City Association of Legal Administrators and served as the SurePoint User Chair in the Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma regions from 2021-2023.</p> Gailey, Henshaw and other recipients of the 2024 Unsung Legal Heroes Award are featured in a special section of Missouri Lawyers Weekly published on July 10. Ruble Cited in Bloomberg Law Article Regarding FTC Non-Compete Rule Jul 2024Publications<p>Baker Sterchi Member Nick Ruble is cited in a Bloomberg Law article titled <a href="">&quot;Early Court Loss for FTC Noncompete Ban Signals States in Charge&quot; </a>concerning the ruling from the Northern District of Texas granting a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the FTC Rule seeking to ban most non-compete agreements. The article points out that enforcement of non-competes is now left to the states. Ruble noted that courts in Missouri and Kansas have exercised greater scrutiny of the legitimate business interests supporting non-compete agreements.</p> <p>Located in Baker Sterchi&rsquo;s Kansas City office, Ruble is an experienced employment and labor law attorney and Vice-Chair of Baker Sterchi&rsquo;s Employment &amp; Labor Practice Group.&nbsp; He is also a steering committee member of ALFA International&rsquo;s Labor &amp; Employment Practice Group, Co-Chair of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association&rsquo;s Labor &amp; Employment Committee, and a member of Defense Research Institute&rsquo;s Employment and Labor Law Committee.&nbsp; Ruble received his Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri &ndash; Kansas City School of Law and is admitted to practice in Kansas and Missouri.</p> Bloomberg Law News is a service of Bloomberg Law, an integrated legal platform providing news and legal analysis from subject matter experts for legal practitioners and business leaders. Stumph-Turner Elected to President of Earl E. O'Connor American Inn of Court Jul 2024Firm News<p>Baker Sterchi Member Megan Stumph-Turner has been elected to serve a one-year term as president of the Earl E. O&rsquo;Connor American Inn of Court.</p> <p>Inspired by Judge O'Connor, the Inn includes attorneys, law clerks and judges from Johnson and Wyandotte counties, as well as the federal judiciary in Kansas City, Kansas and state appellate court judges. The objectives of the Inn include promoting excellence in legal advocacy, ethics, civility, professionalism in the adversarial system and providing education to enhance lawyers&rsquo; skills. It also aims to foster ethical conduct and collegiality among legal professionals.</p> <p>Stumph-Turner represents business clients across various industries, focusing on financial services, real estate, construction and other commercial litigation. She is the co-chair of the firm's Financial Services Practice Group. Licensed to practice in Missouri, Kansas and Iowa, she has previously served as the Inn&rsquo;s community outreach chair, secretary, vice president and president-elect.</p> She will attend the Inns of Distinction Gala at the U.S. Supreme Court in late July to represent the Inn, where other Inns across the country honored with Platinum status will also be represented. Volunteers at Missouri Girls and Boys State "Law School" Jul 2024Firm News<p>From June 24-28, Baker Sterchi associate Alena Johnston volunteered at the American Legion Auxiliary&rsquo;s Missouri Girls and Boys State &ldquo;Law School&rdquo; program.</p> <p>The program is for Missouri rising high school seniors interested in law, politics and government. Attendees, referred to as delegates, form their own mock government, draft legislation, run for statewide office and take classes for college credit.</p> <p>Johnston and other Missouri area volunteer attorneys taught on various topics, including civil and criminal motion practice, torts, criminal law and more. Delegates used these skills to put on a mock trial at the end of the week.</p> Johnston participated in the program as a delegate in 2016 and has volunteered annually since. Based in the firm&rsquo;s St. Louis office, her practice focuses on premises liability, personal injury and insurance coverage. Johnston earned her law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law and is admitted to practice in Missouri. Pak Joins Baker Sterchi in Kansas City Jun 2024Firm News<p>Bill Pak has joined Baker Sterchi&rsquo;s Kansas City office as an associate. He focuses his practice on personal injury and insurance defense. Pak brings a broad legal background to the firm, having served as a prosecutor, public defender and plaintiff's attorney.</p> Pak earned his law degree from Washburn University School of Law and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He is admitted to practice in Missouri and Kansas. Kane Named Treasurer of Madison County Bar Association Jun 2024Firm News<p>At the recent annual meeting of the Madison County Bar Association, Baker Sterchi Member Meghan Kane was named treasurer for the 2024-2025 term.</p> <p>The Madison County Bar Association is a legal organization of more than 600 attorneys dedicated to serving the needs of both attorneys and residents of Madison County, Illinois, part of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area.</p> Kane is a civil defense lawyer with a focus on product and premises liability, as well as toxic tort litigation. She also serves as the vice chair of Illinois Defense Counsel&rsquo;s Tort Law Committee and co-chair of Baker Sterchi's Toxic Tort Practice Group. Sterchi Welcomes Samantha Patterson in Kansas City Jun 2024Firm News<p>Baker Sterchi welcomes Samantha Patterson as an associate in the firm&rsquo;s Kansas City office. Her practice focuses on product liability cases, insurance defense, commercial litigation, and personal injury claims.</p> Patterson obtained her law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Arkansas. She is licensed to practice law in Missouri.&nbsp; Sterchi Attorneys Recognized in Who's Who Legal: Product Liability Defence 2024 Jun 2024Recognition<p>Baker Sterchi Cowden &amp; Rice attorneys John Cowden and Tom Sterchi have been recognized as leading lawyers in the 2024 edition of <i>Who&rsquo;s Who Legal: Product Liability Defence</i>.</p> <p><i>WWL: Product Liability Defence</i>&nbsp;highlights private practice lawyers with a proven record of representing and advising manufacturers and sellers against claims for damages or injuries from defective goods. Industries such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and automotive claims are prominently featured among the recognized practices.</p> <p>Cowden has counseled and defended local, regional, national and international clients in individual and class action lawsuits. With experience defending claims in numerous jury trials across various states, he is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the American Board of Trial Advocates.</p> <p>Sterchi has built a global reputation for his representation of pharmaceutical and medical device companies through years of experience in multidistrict litigation. He has achieved multiple successes in defeating class action attempts against pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers.</p> Published by London-based Law Business Research Limited, attorneys are selected for inclusion in&nbsp;<i>WWL</i>&nbsp;publications only after a multi-step research process that includes obtaining feedback from general counsel and private practice attorneys worldwide. Only those attorneys who have met independent international research criteria and receive the highest number of recommendations from peers and clients are listed.