Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles

On October 26, 2015, a California Court of Appeal held that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) does not apply to interstate truck drivers, and as a result, it ruled that an employer’s class action waiver was unenforceable as a matter of public policy under the California Gentry rule. Garrido v. Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP, No. B254490 (Cal. Ct. App. Oct. 26, 2015). This case is significant because it expands the scope of the “transportation worker” exemption under the FAA. Practically, numerous employers who physically distribute their own goods interstate will now be prevented from compelling individual arbitration of class action lawsuits.

Continue Reading Employer Cannot Enforce Class Action Waiver Because Court of Appeal Rules Interstate Truck Drivers Not Subject to FAA

Declining to enforce a representative action waiver contained in an arbitration agreement, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in San Francisco, has held that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) does not preempt California’s “Iskanian rule,” which prohibits waiver of representative claims under the state Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”), Cal. Lab. Code § 2698 et seq. Sakkab v. Luxottica Retail North America, Inc., No. 13-55184 (9th Cir. Sept. 28, 2015).

The PAGA “authorizes an employee to bring an action for civil penalties on behalf of the state against his or her employer for Labor Code violations committed against the employee and fellow employees, with most of the proceeds of that litigation going to the state.” Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, 59 Cal.4th 348, 360 (2014). Thus, a PAGA claim is a type of government enforcement action where the representative employee acts as the state’s proxy.


Continue Reading California Ban on Waiver of Representative PAGA Claims Not Barred by Federal Arbitration Act, Federal Court Holds

On February 27, 2015, the California Court of Appeal determined that arbitration could not be compelled in Securitas Security Services USA, Inc. v. Superior Court (Edwards). Securitas’ arbitration agreement contained a waiver provision, waiving both class actions and representative Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) actions. In addition to waiving these claims, the waiver provision expressly stated that the waiver could not be severed from the agreement. In a separate paragraph, the Agreement contained a general severability clause, providing that “in the event any portion of this Agreement is deemed unenforceable, the remainder of this Agreement will be enforceable. If the Class Action Waiver is deemed to be unenforceable, [the parties] agree that this Agreement is otherwise silent as to any party’s ability to bring a class, collective, or representative action in arbitration.”
Continue Reading No Arbitration if Invalid PAGA Waiver Cannot be Severed

On February 26, 2015, in Franco v. Arakelian Enterprises, Inc., Case No. B232583, the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District held that trial court proceedings on claims pursuant to the California Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA”) (Labor Code § 2698 et seq.) must be stayed pending individual arbitration of the underlying individual wage and hour claims (originally pled as classwide claims) pursuant to an arbitration agreement containing a classwide arbitration waiver.

Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Rules PAGA Claims Must Be Stayed Pending Outcome of Individual Arbitration on Underlying Individual Wage and Hour Claims

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review the California Supreme Court’s decision that representative claims under the California Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) cannot be waived in employment arbitration agreements. Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, 59 Cal. 4th 348 (Cal. 2014), cert. denied, No. 14-341 (U.S. Jan. 20, 2015).

In Iskanian, the California Supreme Court ruled the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) preempted California law disfavoring enforcement of a class action waiver in employment arbitration agreements. However, it also ruled the FAA did not preempt representative actions under PAGA. For additional information on Iskanian, please see our article, California High Court: Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Valid, But Waivers of Representative Actions under State Law Are Not.
Continue Reading California Supreme Court Decision Barring Waiver of Representative Claims is Left Intact by U.S. Supreme Court

The Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) preempts California’s Broughton-Cruz rule, which states arbitration agreements for injunctive relief claims under the state unfair competition and false advertising laws are against public policy and invalid, the California Court of Appeal has held in an insurance consumer class action, allowing arbitration to proceed. McGill v. Citibank, N.A., No. G049838 (Cal. Ct. App. Dec. 18, 2014).

This decision calls into question the continued viability of California’s Broughton-Cruz rule, which was established by the California Supreme Court in Broughton v. Cigna Healthplans, 21 Cal. 4th 1066 (Cal. 1999), and Cruz v. PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc., 30 Cal. 4th 303 (Cal. 2003).
Continue Reading Federal Arbitration Act Preempts State Arbitration Rule, California Court of Appeal Holds

In the June 2014 Iskanian decision, the California Supreme Court carved out an exception to the general rule that class action waivers in arbitration agreements are valid, and concluded that the right to bring representative Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA”) claims cannot be waived through arbitration agreements. PAGA allows individual workers to pursue Labor Code violations against employers in a representative action on behalf of government authorities.
Continue Reading PAGA Waivers may be Enforceable in Federal Courts

In a decision that should not go unnoticed in the wake of the California Supreme Court’s ruling in Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC which rejected prior limitations on class action waivers but held representative actions under California’s Private Attorneys General Act cannot be waived, the California Court of Appeal in Malone v. Superior Court (California Bank & Trust), Case No. B253891 (June 17, 2014) upheld an employer’s delegation clause requiring issues relating to the enforceability of an employer’s arbitration agreement to be sent to the arbitrator for resolution. While the U.S. Supreme Court continues to uphold arbitration provisions pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), California courts have been reluctant to follow the Supreme Court’s clear guidance. Malone suggests the California tide is beginning to turn in favor of arbitration.
Continue Reading California Tide is Turning in Favor of Arbitration