Bagdasarian Productions v. Twentieth Century Fox

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Date Filed: 03-26-2012
  • Case #: 10-56430
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Hawkins for the Court; Circuit Judges Pregerson and Bea
  • Full Text Opinion

An appellate court does not have jurisdiction where a district court has “entered a stay, pending [a California Code of Civil Procedure §] 638 reference,” so long as (1) the opposing party will not be “put out of court” and (2) the “collateral order doctrine” does not apply.

Bagdasarian Productions (“Bagdasarian”) sued Twentieth Century Fox (“Fox”) in connection with a movie agreement (“Agreement”). “Fox moved to stay the case and to refer the dispute to a referee as the Agreement provided. The district court granted the motion, whereupon [Bagdasarian] brought [an] interlocutory appeal.” The Ninth Circuit noted that the stay of proceedings and reference order were not “a traditional ‘final decision’ or judgment.” The Court reasoned that Bagdasarian would not be “put out of court,” such that “there [would] be no further proceedings in the federal forum,” because (1) the Agreement did not provide that the referee’s decision would be final and (2) “the referring court would still have the authority to set the judgment aside and correct errors of law.” The Court also noted that the “collateral order doctrine” did not apply because “if the referral pursuant to Section 638 [was] improper for any reason, the error could be remedied by setting aside the decision and remanding to the district court for full proceedings.” The Ninth Circuit held that the appeal was premature and therefore the Court lacked jurisdiction. DISMISSED.

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