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.

Singer v. Stuerke

United States District Court, D. Nevada

June 14, 2017

SIMON SINGER, individually; RAO GARUDA, individually and as trustee of the GARUDA FAMILY ASSET PROTECTION TRUST, Plaintiffs,
v.
BRANDON STUERKE also known as “Leroy Brandon Stuerke” an individual, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Kent J. Dawson United States District Judge

         Presently before the Court is Defendant Brandon Stuerke's Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Petition (#6/16). Plaintiffs filed a response in opposition (#20), to which Stuerke replied (#25).

         I. Background

         On June 18, 2015, the Garuda Family Asset Protection Trust (“Garuda”) and Simon Singer (“Singer” - an individual) (collectively “Petitioners”) and the Defendant, Leroy Brandon Stuerke, formed a financial services company, Tax Planning Institute, LLC (“TPI”), in Nevada, intended to do business throughout the United States. TPI's Operating Agreement (“Agreement”) defined TPI governance, including dispute resolution and forum selection.

         The Petitioners allege that after TPI's creation, Stuerke used TPI trade secret customer information for a competing business. In responding to the Petitioners' request to compel arbitration, Stuerke has denied the validity of the alleged trade secrets, challenged the Court's subject matter jurisdiction over the controversy, and challenged the Court's personal jurisdiction over him. Petitioners seek to compel Stuerke to submit to binding arbitration of the dispute between the founding members of TPI.

         II. Discussion

         The Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §§ 1-16 (“FAA”), determines the arbitrability of disputes between parties to an agreement. Agreements to arbitrate in “a contract evidencing a transaction involving commerce … shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist in law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.” 9 U.S.C. § 2. In order for a dispute to be arbitrable under the FAA (1) there must exist a valid agreement to arbitrate between the parties; and (2) the dispute in question must fall within the scope of that arbitration agreement. Chiron Corp. v. Ortho Diagnostic Sys., 207 F.3d 1126, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000). When deciding whether parties agreed to arbitrate, courts should apply ordinary state-law principles that govern the formation of contracts. First Options of Chicago, Inc. v. Kaplan, 514 U.S. 938, 944 (1995). Arbitration agreements must be enforced according to their terms. Volt Information Sciences, Inc. v. Board of Trustees of Leland Sanford Jr., Univ., 489 U.S. 468, 478, (1989). The court should determine if the dispute falls within the scope of the arbitration agreement, unless the arbitration agreement clearly and unmistakably delegates that to the arbitrator. See First Options, 514 U.S. at 938. The FAA “establishes that, as a matter of federal law, any doubts concerning the scope of arbitrable issues should be resolved in favor of arbitration.” Moses H. Cone Memorial Hosp. v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 24-25 (1983).

         Both the FAA and the Uniform Arbitration Act (“UAA”) permit parties to file petitions to compel arbitration without the need for an ongoing court action between the parties. 9 U.S.C. § 4; UAA § 2(a). Significantly, however, the FAA does not independently create subject matter jurisdiction and, absent a federal question or diversity jurisdiction, the petition cannot be filed in federal court even when the transaction involves interstate commerce. Kehr v. Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co., 736 F.2d 1283, 1287-88 (9th Cir. 1984). If the arbitration agreement contains a forum selection clause, generally only the district court in the selected forum can issue an order compelling arbitration. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. v. Lauer, 49 F.3d 323 (7th Cir. 1995).

         To evaluate the Petition to Compel Arbitration under the FAA, the Court must analyze if (1) there exists a valid agreement to arbitrate between the parties; (2) the dispute is within the scope of that arbitration agreement; and (3) the Court would have subject matter jurisdiction over the controversy, if not for the agreement of the parties to submit to arbitration. 9 U.S.C. § 4.

         A. The parties have a valid agreement to arbitrate

          Neither party disputes that the TPI Agreement is valid. Both parties have cited its provisions and language in their briefs and each has implied that they consider themselves collectively bound by the terms of the agreement. Within the Agreement is a clause requiring arbitration. “Any dispute arising out of this Agreement shall be settled by arbitration.” TPI Agreement § 17.07, ECF 12-1 at 23.

         B. TPI members agreed to arbitrate disputes among members

         The scope of the Agreement covers disputes among members, including the issues brought before the Court. “The parties intend this Agreement to control . . . the business and affairs of the Company, including . . . the relations among the Company's Members . . . .” TPI Agreement § 2.02(b), ECF 12-1 at 3. “[A]ny disputes shall be resolved by a binding arbitration.” TPI Agreement § 17.07, ECF 12-1 at 23. The Petitioners and Stuerke disagree about the trade-secret status of customer contact information, the appropriate uses of such information, and the obligations of TPI members to TPI. These disagreements are within the scope of the Agreement and subject to arbitration.

         C.Stuerke is subject to personal jurisdiction in Nevada Courts by ...


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.