Jensen v. U-Haul Co. of CaliforniaAnnotate this Case
Plaintiffs-respondents Virgil and Glenda Jensen contended they suffered damages caused by a negligently maintained rental truck, rented by his supervisor, Charles Scannell, which blew a tire while Virgil was driving it. Defendant-appellant U-Haul Co. of California (UHCA) appealed the trial court’s denial of its motion to compel arbitration. UHCA contended plaintiffs were bound by the arbitration agreement in the rental contract, even though neither plaintiff was a party to that contract. The Court of Appeal’s review of plaintiffs’ complaint showed that plaintiffs did not rely or depend on the terms of the rental in asserting their claims, and none of their allegations were in any way founded in or bound up with the terms or obligations of that agreement. UHCA, citing to general principles and cases that it contended were analogous, argued that plaintiffs were bound to arbitrate their claims, even though they are not signatories to the agreement between Scannell and UHCA, on any of three theories: third-party beneficiary, agency, or estoppel. The Court of Appeal was not persuaded and affirmed the trial court.