Business Law Update, October 2009

10/08/2009 / Business Litigation Department




A Look Ahead at the U.S. Supreme Court’s Upcoming 2009 Term

By Chris M. Heffelbower and Ashlee M. Bekish*

The United States Supreme Court’s upcoming term begins Monday, October 5.  The Court has already agreed to hear over 50 cases and is expected to add more cases once the term commences.  This alert provides a brief look at some of the interesting cases the Supreme Court has agreed to hear thus far.  Continue 

 Ninth Circuit Rules that Court, Not Arbitrator, Must Decide Unconscionability

By Bruce J. Douglas and Ashlee M. Bekish*

The issue of whether the court or the arbitrator should decide questions relating to unconscionability has divided the federal courts of appeals.  In 2006, the Supreme Court in Buckeye Check Cashing, Inc. v. Cardegna held that when a party challenges the validity of a contract, but not its arbitration provisions, the arbitrator, not the court, decides whether the contract is valid. In this case, Jackson v. Rent-A-Center West Inc., ___ F.3d ___, 2009 WL 2871247 (9th Cir.), the Ninth Circuit applied what it called the “flip side” of the Buckeye rule and found “that when a party specifically challenges the validity of arbitration provisions within a larger contract, apart from the validity of the contract as a whole, a court decides the threshold question of the enforceability of the arbitration provisions.” Continue

Minnesota Court of Appeals Confirms that Plaintiff May Prove a Case of Employment Discrimination via Circumstantial Evidence

By Julia H. Halbach

In Friend v. Gopher Company, Inc. 771 N.W.2d 33 (Minn. Ct. App. 2009), the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently clarified the manner in which a plaintiff can prove a case of employment discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”).  Continue

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Jon S. Swierzewski

John A. Cotter
Email 952.896.3340

Dayle Nolan                     
Email 952.896.3275           
Christopher J. Harristhal  
Email 952.896.3312
Bruce J. Douglas  
Email 952.896.1569
Daniel J. Ballintine  
Email 952.896.3288

Kenneth Corey-Edstrom
Email 952.896.1719

Cynthia M. Klaus
Email 952.896.3392

Chris M. Heffelbower    
Email 952.896.1543
Sejal Desai Winkelman     
Email 952.896.3325
Carrie L. Zochert    
Email 952.896.3353
Julia H. Halbach    
Email 952.896.3264

L. Kathleen Harrell-Latham 
Email 952.896.1544

Ashlee M. Bekish
Email 952.896.6701

Michael C. Jackman
Of Counsel
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This alert is provided as a service to our clients and firm associates.  While the information provided in this publication is believed to be accurate, it is general in nature and should not be construed as legal advice.