1st District Court of Appeal denies arbitration in ArcheAge case

By Robert Davis | Apr 10, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO — The 1st District Court of Appeal has denied a petition to compel arbitration between Aaron Van Fleet and Trion Worlds Inc. over a computer game Van Fleet and two other plaintiffs created and how discounts and subscriptions in the game would be represented. 

Van Fleet alleged in his complaint that Trion violated California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Civil Code Section 1770, the state's false advertising and unfair competition laws and Business and Professions Code Section 17500 and negligently represented the game, ArcheAge, as it went to market. 

Trion moved the case to federal court, citing diversity jurisdiction provisions of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. There, the company attempted to compel arbitration with Van Fleet and the two other plaintiffs, according to information in the ruling.

The federal court ruled "the arbitrability of this dispute must be resolved in the parties’ chosen venue for state-law claims subject to the (end user license agreements)."

The plaintiffs successfully moved the case to the US District Court for the Northern District of California where the court declined to rule on the motion to compel arbitration because the claims "are subject to both the Terms Of Use and End User License Agreements (EULA)."

Under the EULA, "Both parties submit to personal jurisdiction in California and further agree that any cause of action relating to this Agreement shall be brought in the County of San Mateo, State of California (if under State law) or the Northern District of California (if under federal law)," according to the ruling.

This provision, the court argued, nullified Trion's motion to compel arbitration, though a clause in the terms of use agreement gives Trion the ability to file such a motion. 

Trion argued that the true dispute is how "that arbitration provision can be harmonized with the EULA’s venue-selection clause."

The court concluded that "Trion failed to establish the parties agreed to arbitrate their dispute" and thereby denied the company's motion to compel. 

Judge Barbra Jones gave the opinion of the court April 2. Judges Henry E. Needham and Terrence Bruiniers concurred. 

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