Petition to Compel Arbitration (Judge Richard Y. Lee)

Defendant American Honda Motor Co., Inc. filed a Motion to Compel Arbitration and Request for Judicial Notice.

As an initial matter, Defendant’s unopposed Request for Judicial Notice is GRANTED.

Under the circumstances of this particular case, the court finds that Defendant American Honda Motor Co., Inc. is a third party beneficiary of the Arbitration Agreement.  In fact, the Arbitrations Agreement expressly states:

“By signing the Arbitration Consent, YOU elect to have disputes resolved by arbitration, YOU, HONDA, or any involved third party may pursuant a Claim.”

The Arbitration Agreement defines HONDA as follows:

“HONDA means Lessor, Dealer, Honda Lease Trust, America Honda Finance Corporation (AHFC), America Honda Motor Co., Inc., Honda Finance Exchange, Inc. Acura Financial Services (AFS), Honda Financial Services (HFS), HVT, Inc., their parents, subsidiaries, predecessors, successors, assignees, and officers, employees, representatives and agents.” (Italics added.)

Here, Defendant American Honda Motor Co., Inc. is expressly provided for as a party that may select arbitration for disputes that arise between Plaintiff and Defendant.

In Ford Motor Warranty Cases (2023) 89 Cal.App.5th 1324, the court held that directly naming the manufacturer as a person entitled to compel arbitration is sufficient to establish the manufacturer as a third party beneficiary.  The Ford Motor Warranty Cases court stated:

“If the signatories had intended to benefit FMC, such a purpose would have been easy to articulate. They could have simply named FMC—directly or by class as the vehicle’s manufacturer—as a person entitled to compel arbitration.”  (Id., 1339.)

Here, the contract clearly identifies Defendant American Honda Motor Co., Inc. as a person entitled to compel arbitration.

Accordingly, the petition to compel arbitration is GRANTED and the action is STAYED.

The Court vacates the CMC and sets an ADR Review Hearing for 3/21/2024 at 1:30 p.m.

Defendant to give notice.