Simple Failure Of Proof Dictated The Outcome
Generally, a nonsignatory to an arbitration provision cannot compel arbitration. However, under certain circumstances a nonsignatory may invoke or be bound by an arbitration provision: “‘(a) incorporation by reference; (b) assumption; (c) agency; (d) veil-piercing or alter ego; (e) estoppel; and (f) third-party beneficiary’”. Suh v. Superior Court, 181 Cal.App.4th 1504, 1513 (2010).
In Hoyle v. Top Surgeons, LLC, B247375 (2nd Dist. Div. 2 April 10, 2014) (Ferns, Boren, Chavez) (unpublished), appellant Top Surgeons, LLC sought to compel arbitration of a complaint arising from lap band surgery alleged to have been negligently performed. Appellant alleged that, though it was a nonsignatory, it was a third-party beneficiary of an arbitration provision between the plaintiff and various defendants.
Conclusory allegations, however, did not cut the mustard with the Court of Appeal. “Without evidence of any relationship between
appellant and the signatories to the Agreements, the trial court properly denied the petition to compel arbitration.” A little evidence might have been helpful.