Category Archives: Arbitration Agreements

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In California, The Statutory Right To Seek Public Injunctive Relief Is Unwaivable

On April 6, 2017, in the matter Sharon McGill v. Citibank, N.A., the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that an arbitration agreement that waives a statutory right to seek public injunctive relief in any forum, is contrary to California public policy and is therefore unenforceable under California law.  In arriving at its ruling, the Court … Continue Reading

Congress Considers Limiting Pre-dispute Arbitration Agreements in the Employment Context

Many employers require employees to sign arbitration agreements at the inception of the employment relationship and prior to any disputes, such as part of their new hire packets or as a condition of their employment.  Recently, Congressional Democrats have introduced legislation to invalidate such pre-dispute arbitration agreements.… Continue Reading

Agencies Publish Strict New Reporting Guidelines for Government Contractors

On August 25, 2016, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) and Federal Acquisition Regulatory (“FAR”) Council published “Guidance for Executive Order 13673, ‘Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces’” (“final rule”).  Also referred to as the “blacklisting” rule, it imposes strict disclosure guidelines and requires that both prospective and existing contractors – as well as subcontractors … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Invalidates Arbitration Agreement

On August 22, 2016, the Ninth Circuit joined the Seventh Circuit in the split amongst U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal on the issue of enforceability of employment arbitration agreements precluding class actions. The Ninth Circuit, similar to the Seventh Circuit in Lewis v. Epic Sys. Corp., held in 2-1 decision that an employer violates the … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Holds Class Action Waivers are Unlawful and Unenforceable Creating a Circuit Split

On May 26, 2016, in the matter of Lewis v. Epic Systems Corporation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that an arbitration agreement, which required employees to submit to individual arbitration for any wage and hour claims against the company, violates the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) and is unenforceable under … Continue Reading

New York’s Highest Court Enforces Arbitration Provision in California Workers’ Compensation Insurance Agreement, Rejecting McCarran-Ferguson “Reverse Preemption”

A recent ruling by the New York State Court of Appeals underscores the Federal Arbitration Act’s (“FAA”) strong policy favoring enforcement of arbitration agreements—even in the insurance industry and despite federal policy generally favoring state regulation of the business of insurance. … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court: Arbitration Agreement Restating Existing Law Is Not Unconscionable

On March 28, 2016, the California Supreme Court handed down a long-awaited opinion in Baltazar v. Forever 21. Baltazar’s most important holding is that an arbitration agreement is not unconscionable merely because it restates existing law.  This ruling resolves a disagreement between state appellate courts that probably should never have arisen in the first place.… Continue Reading

Arbitration Wars: Supreme Court Continues To Affirm The Supremacy of the FAA

The United States Supreme Court recently reversed a decision by the California Court of Appeal wherein the state court refused to enforce a class action waiver in an arbitration agreement. The Supreme Court enforced the class arbitration waiver holding that the Court of Appeal’s decision was pre-empted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) as interpreted … Continue Reading

California Employers Exhale Relief, Governor Vetoes Ban on Employment Arbitration Agreement

On October 11, 2015, Governor Brown vetoed Assembly Bill No. 465. AB 465 was one of the most closely watched, controversial employment related bills passed by the California Legislature in recent memory. Understandably, employers were nervous by the bill’s potential implications.… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Blesses Iskanian

On September 28, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 2-1 decision in the long-awaited case of Sakkab v. Luxottica Retail North America, Inc. (No. 13-55184, D.C. No. 3:12-cv-00436-GPC-KSC) (“Sakkab”). The Court held that an arbitration agreement that requires arbitration of PAGA claims arising out of employment is unenforceable under California law.… Continue Reading

Arbitration Agreement With PAGA Waiver And Opt Out Provision Deemed Unenforceable

Last month, a California Court of Appeal invalidated an arbitration agreement for including a representative action waiver combined with a non-severability clause. Background In Securitas Security Services USA, Inc. v. Superior Court (Edwards), 2015 Cal.App.LEXIS 190 (Cal. App. 4th Dist. Feb. 27, 2015), the employee, Edwards, signed an arbitration agreement from her employer, Securitas Security Services USA, … Continue Reading

UPDATE: SCOTUS Denies Petition For Cert In Iskanian

On June 24, 2014, the California Supreme Court issued a controversial decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC.  While the Court in Iskanian confirmed that an express class action waiver in an employment arbitration agreement is enforceable under California law, it also held that an arbitration agreement provision barring arbitration of a workers’ … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Enforces Contractor’s Agreement to Arbitrate Misclassification Claims Out of State

On Monday, July 21, 2014, the California Court of Appeal issued its opinion in Galen v. Redfin Corp., A138642.  This case is important for two reasons:  (1) the court upheld an arbitration agreement between a Seattle-based company and a California plaintiff challenging his status (and that of the putative class) as an independent contractor (v. … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Issues Iskanian Decision, Ruling that Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements Are Enforceable, But Still Allows PAGA Claims to Proceed on Representative Basis

On June 23, 2014, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, confirming that an express class action waiver in an employment arbitration agreement is enforceable under California law.  In its decision, the Court held that its earlier decision in Gentry is no longer good law under the … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Upholds The Validity Of Class-Action Waivers In Arbitration Agreements

Earlier this week, on December 3, 2013, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that arbitration agreements lawfully can contain class-action waivers.  In its ruling in D.R. Horton, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, the Fifth Circuit overturned a National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) administrative decision, finding that D.R. Horton, Inc. did not violate … Continue Reading

Sonic Calabasas Is A Tactical Retreat From Supreme Court FAA Precedent

On October 17, 2013, in Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno, the California Supreme Court issued a 73-page decision (excluding concurrence and dissent) that attempted to construe the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) decisions (Concepcion and American Express) as narrowly as possible so as to preserve the right of state courts to strike down arbitration agreements … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Holds That The Fair Labor Standards Act Does Not Bar The Enforcement of Class Action Waivers

Over the past week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (“Second Circuit”) has issued two decisions in which it affirmatively held that: (i) a plaintiff cannot use the “effective vindication doctrine” to invalidate a class action waiver of claims brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”); and (ii) the FLSA … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Continues To Expand FAA Preemption

By Thomas Kaufman Do you hear that? . . . .  It is the wailing and moaning of plaintiff’s attorneys across the country. This morning, in a 5-3 decision (Sotomayor recused herself), the United States Supreme Court issued a pro-arbitration decision in American Express Co. v. Italian Colors.  The forceful opinion from Justice Scalia continues to … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Upholds Enforceability of Arbitration Agreements that Bar Title VII Class Actions, Finding that there is no Substantive Statutory Right to Pursue a Pattern-or-Practice Claim

On March 21, 2013, the Second Circuit issued its opinion in Parisi v. Goldman Sachs & Co., Case No. 11-5229, reversing a decision from the Southern District of New York, and holding that arbitration agreements which preclude Title VII class actions are enforceable. In reaching this decision, the Second Circuit affirmed the “liberal federal policy … Continue Reading

Eastern and Southern District Courts Compel Plaintiffs to Arbitrate their FLSA Collective Action Claims on an Individualized Basis

In February, two New York Federal District Court decisions joined other recent federal cases in enforcing arbitration agreements that preclude employees from bringing their Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) claims on a collective basis and required the employees to individually pursue their claims in arbitration. See Torres v. United Healthcare Servs., Inc., No. 12 Civ. … Continue Reading

Southern District of New York Compels Arbitration of FLSA Collective Action Claims on an Individualized Basis

On December 4, 2012, Southern District of New York District Judge Barbara S. Jones, granted a motion to compel arbitration on an individual basis in a class and collective action brought pursuant to, among other things, the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) in Cohen v. UBS Financial Services, Inc., Docket No. 12 Civ. 2147 (BSJ)(JLC).… Continue Reading

Appellate Panel Tries to Draft a Roadmap for the California Supreme Court to Save California’s Prohibition of Class Action Waivers from U.S. Supreme Court Precedent

By Thomas Kaufman Follow me on Twitter The battle for how the landmark arbitration decision Concepcion v. AT&T Mobility (“Concepcion”) should be construed in California continues with Monday’s issuance of Franco v. Arekelian Enterprises, Inc. (“Franco II”). Division One of the Second District Court of Appeal (in Los Angeles) has developed a troubling reputation among the class action … Continue Reading

In A 2-to-1 Split Decision, The California Court Of Appeal Parses The Language Of An Agreement And Denies Arbitration Of California Labor Code Claims

In Elijahjuan v. Superior Court, Case No. B234794 (2nd Dist, Div. 8, Oct. 17, 2012), the California Court of Appeal held that the specific language of an agreement did not require plaintiffs to arbitrate their claims for misclassification as independent contractors in a wage and hour putative class action, concluding that the arbitration language covered … Continue Reading
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