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Opie v. CVS Caremark

United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division

August 23, 2017

v. RITA OPIE, Plaintiff, CVS CAREMARK, Defendant.



         I. Introduction

         CVS Caremark has moved to dismiss Rita Opie's Amended Complaint and to Compel Arbitration of Plaintiff s Claims. (Doc. 3). On June 30, 2017, Magistrate Judge Timothy Cavan issued his Findings and Recommendations recommending that this Court deny CVS's motion to dismiss but grant its motion to compel arbitration. (Doc. 23).

         When a party timely objects to any portion of the magistrate judge's Findings and Recommendations, the district court must conduct a de novo review of the portions of the Findings and Recommendations to which objections are made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Commodore Business Machines, 656 F.2d 1309, 1313 (9th Cir. 1981). The district court may then "accept, reject, or modify the recommended decision, receive further evidence, or recommit the matter to the magistrate with instructions." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The district court is not required to review the factual and legal conclusions of the magistrate judge to which the parties do not object. United States v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir. 2003).

         Opie filed timely objections to Judge Cavan's Findings and Recommendations. (Docs. 25). After independently reviewing and considering Opie's objections and CVS's response, this Court adopts Judge Cavan's findings and recommendations, as set forth below.

         II. Relevant Background

         Opie does not object to the factual history contained in the Background section of Judge Cavan's Findings and Recommendations. Judge Cavan's Background section is therefore adopted in full.

         III. Applicable Law

         A. Legal Standard

         Here, because the Arbitration Policy here is made between citizens of different states and involves interstate commerce, the Federal Arbitration Act governs. See Elmore v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., 2016 WL 6635625, *3 (CD. Cal. Nov. 9, 2016) (finding the FAA governed the same CVS Arbitration Policy that is at issue in this action). The FAA provides that an agreement to arbitrate disputes arising from a contract shall be "valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract." 9 U.S.C. § 2. "The Court's role under the [FAA] is ... limited to determining (1) whether a valid agreement to arbitrate exists and, if it does (2) whether the agreement encompasses the dispute at issue." Chiron Corp. v. Ortho Diagnostic Sys., Inc., 207 F.3d 1126, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000). The burden of establishing these two elements is on the party seeking to compel arbitration. Ashbey v. Archstone Property Mgmt, Inc., 785 F.3d 1320, 1323 (9th Cir. 2015). "[A]ny doubts concerning the scope of arbitrable issues should be resolved in favor of arbitration." Moses Ashbey v. Archstone Property Mgmt., Inc., 460 U.S. 1, 24-25 (1983), superseded by statute on other grounds. Because arbitration is a matter of contract, however, "a party cannot be required to submit to arbitration any dispute which he has not agreed so to submit." AT & T Techs., Inc. v. Commc'ns Workers of Am., 475 U.S. 643, 648 (1986).

         When considering a motion to compel arbitration, the court applies a standard similar to the summary judgment standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a). Three Valleys Municipal Water District v. E.F Hutton & Company Inc., 925 F.2d 1136, 1141 (9th Cir. 1991) see also Concat LP v. Unilever, PLC, 350 F.Supp.2d 796, 804 (N.D. Cal. 2004). A court may consider evidence outside of the pleadings, such as declarations and other documents filed with the court. Id.

         IV. Discussion

         Opie objects to Judge Cavan's factual finding that she consented to the Arbitration Policy. In Opie's Objection A to Judge Cavan's recommendations, she argues that Judge Cavan erred in recommending that the arbitration agreement was legal under Montana law. (Doc. 25 at 1-6). Her remaining objections B-K consist of a duplication of her arguments already presented to Judge Cavan. (Id. at 6-9). As explained below, in light of the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court declines to engage in de novo review of those objections.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72 provides that a party may serve and file "specific written objections to the proposed findings and recommendations." Fed.R.Civ.P. 72. The local rule of civil procedure goes on to state that such written objections shall specify "each recommendation of the magistrate judge to which objection is made, setting forth the authority the party relies on to contradict that recommendation." D. Mont. L. R. 72.3(a)(2). In other words, an objecting party must identify specific errors in the magistrate judge's analysis without simply rehashing arguments already raised to the magistrate judge. See, e.g., Edmond v. Collins,8 F.3d 290, 293 n.7 (5th Cir. 1993) (holding that "[a]lthough petitioner filed written objections to the magistrate's findings, these objections consisted solely of a copy of the brief filed to support the original habeas petition to the district court. . . . [Petitioner] thus did not raise a factual objection by merely rearguing arguments contained in the original petition."); see also Goney v. Clark, 749 F.2d ...

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