The Ninth Circuit was getting used to what seemed like automatic favorable responses whenever it would ask the California Supreme Court to answer questions of state law. At one point, the state high court had granted 13 requests in a row and 21 of 22, and the one denial during that time wasn’t even a real denial. Then there was a denial in April followed by another one in May, although the latter denial looked more like a summary answer.
Today the Supreme Court returns to its granting ways, agreeing to answer questions in three cases: two related airline wage cases and a civil rights standing lawsuit claiming discrimination against bankruptcy attorneys.
The airline cases are Ward v. United Airlines, Inc. and Oman v. Delta Air Lines, Inc. The Ninth Circuit sent the requests two months ago. In both cases, the Supreme Court reworded the questions, which can be found on the court’s docket. The matters concern wage disputes between out-of-state employers and employees who sometimes work in California.
Does a plaintiff suffer discriminatory conduct, and thus have statutory standing to bring a claim under the [California] Unruh [Civil Rights] Act, when the plaintiff visits a business’s website with the intent of using its services, encounters terms and conditions that deny the plaintiff full and equal access to its services, and then departs without entering into an agreement with the service provider? Alternatively, does the plaintiff have to engage in some further interaction with the business and its website before the plaintiff will be deemed to have been denied full and equal treatment by the business?