Volume 51, Issue 1 (2021)


Front Matter

Judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Case Summaries

Rittmann v. Amazon.com, Inc.: Ninth Circuit Rules Amazon’s Drivers Fall Within the Federal Arbitration Act’s “Transportation Worker Exemption”

Isabella Borges

Amazon is among a large list of corporations that have long tried to enforce mandatory arbitration against delivery drivers who file suit in their respective jurisdictions. In recent years, delivery drivers have decided to fight back against private arbitration and to have their legal battles heard in court. In these cases, delivery drivers argue that they are exempt from arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) because they are engaged in interstate commerce. Section 1 of the FAA exempts from arbitration “contracts of employment of seaman, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce.” Further, section 2 of the FAA governs whether the Act applies in the first place and broadly relates to “contract[s] evidencing a transaction involving commerce.” In a recent Ninth Circuit decision, the court established that delivery drivers are exempt from mandatory arbitration, allowing drivers to keep their lawsuits in court. In addition, the Ninth Circuit holding makes dismantling class or collective actions more problematic for transportation, logistics and gig-economy companies.

Recommended Citation
Isabella Borges, Rittmann v. Amazon.com, Inc.: Ninth Circuit Rules Amazon’s Drivers Fall Within the Federal Arbitration Act’s “Transportation Worker Exemption”, 51 Golden Gate U. L. Rev. 1 (2021).

Wells Fargo v. City of Oakland: A Matter of Proximate Cause

Shawna Doughman

President Lyndon B. Johnson saw passage of the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) to be a fitting tribute to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who had just been assassinated. The United States was in turmoil, much as it is today, with cities burning and people divided. The FHA was first introduced by Democratic senator Walter Mondale. The lobbying efforts of Republican senator Edward Brooke, the first Black senator to be elected by popular vote, and Democratic senator Edward Kennedy finally brought this legislation to fruition as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Senator Mondale remarked, “in truly integrated neighborhoods, people have been able to live in peace and harmony— and both [Blacks] and whites are richer for the experience.” Although the FHA has been “rightfully lauded as one of the greatest achievements of the civil rights movement,” discriminatory lending practices have continued. These lending practices, called redlining and reverse redlining (also known as predatory lending), have not ceased to devastate individuals, families, neighborhoods and cities. In 2018, the City of Oakland, California (“Oakland”), sued Wells Fargo to address part of what the FHA set out to do: end discrimination in lending. The court quoted senator Mondale, the chief sponsor of the FHA, who cited cities’ declining tax bases as a specific injury traced to discrimination in housing. Wells Fargo appealed to the Ninth Circuit, and pursuant to the Supreme Court’s decision in Bank of America Corporation v. City of Miami (“Miami I”), the court held that Oakland must be given a chance to prove that its harm was within the zone of interest affected by Wells Fargo’s actions.

Recommended Citation
Shawna Doughman, Wells Fargo v. City of Oakland: A Matter of Proximate Cause, 51 Golden Gate U. L. Rev. 11 (2021).


Dent v. NFL LMRA 301 Preemption: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Throws a Penalty Flag on the NFL

Justin C. Trimachi

Part I of this Note will discuss the procedural history of the case, the Ninth Circuit’s application of the two-pronged test to determine if LMRA 301 preempted the players’ state-law claims, the facts of Dent v. NFL, and finally a brief history of the NFL and its usage of CBAs. Part II will give a brief overview of the Supreme Court’s development of LMRA 301 jurisprudence as well as its rulings on when LMRA 301 should preempt state-law tort claims. Part III will discuss the decisions by the Eighth Circuit in Williams and by the Eleventh Circuit in Atwater. Part IV of this Note will discuss why the Ninth Circuit’s test should be adopted throughout the federal court system to analyze whether LMRA 301 preempts state-law claims.

Recommended Citation
Justin C. Trimachi, Dent v. NFL LMRA 301 Preemption – The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Throws a Penalty Flag on the NFL, 51 Golden Gate U. L. Rev. 25 (2021).

Dyroff v. Ultimate Software Group, Inc.: A Reminder of the Broad Scope of § 230 Immunity

Alex S. Rifkind

Part I of this Note examines the factual and procedural history of Dyroff and discusses the Ninth Circuit’s application of § 230 immunity in the case. Part II outlines the history of the CDA and examines how the federal courts have interpreted § 230 immunity leading up to its application in Dyroff. Part III discusses judicial interpretation of the scope of § 230 immunity. Lastly, Part IV argues that the Ninth Circuit correctly applied the law in the Dyroff decision, but failed to adequately define the term content-neutral. Further, by not defining what falls within the scope of content-neutral, the Ninth Circuit’s holding implicitly immunizes any manipulation of third-party content facilitating communication that does not materially contribute to the content at issue. The broad shield of § 230 immunity, which was necessary for growth and development during the Internet’s infancy, is antiquated and should be narrowed by Congress to foster greater accountability to prevent tragedies like Dyroff from recurring.

Recommended Citation
Alex S. Rifkind, Dyroff v. Ultimate Software Group, Inc.: A Reminder of the Broad Scope of § 230 Immunity, 51 Golden Gate U. L. Rev. 49 (2021).