California Supreme Court

Over the past two years, a big growth area for plaintiffs’ lawyers has been cases challenging the use of zip codes or other identifying information by merchants that process credit-card transactions.

In 2011, the California Supreme Court held in Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma Stores that a zip code constitutes “personal identification information” under California’s Song-Beverly Credit Card Act, thus potentially exposing retailers to civil penalties of up to $1,000 per violation if they request and record the zip codes of customers paying by credit card. (My colleagues John Nadolenco and Archis Parasharami did a teleconference about Pineda that you can listen
Continue Reading Where Will the Zip Code Class Actions Be Filed Next?

In the wake of AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, the California Supreme Court granted review in three cases involving significant arbitration issues, including key questions about whether the Federal Arbitration Act preempts California law concerning the enforceability of arbitration agreements.

My colleagues and I have filed amicus briefs on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States in all three cases, the most recent of which is Iskanian v. CLS Transportation, No. S204032.

In Iskanian, the Second District of the California Court of Appeal had affirmed an order compelling individual arbitration in a putative class/representative action alleging, among other things, that the defendant had failed to pay overtime and provide required meal and rest breaks. For more background on the grant of review and the decision below, please see our prior blog post here.

The Chamber’s amicus brief (pdf) to the California Supreme Court explains why the court of appeal was correct.

Continue Reading U.S. Chamber of Commerce Files Amicus Brief On Arbitration Issues In Key California Supreme Court Case

The California Supreme Court granted review last week in Franco v. Arakelian Enterprises Inc., No. S207660, in which the California Court of Appeal had refused to enforce an agreement to arbitrate on an individual basis in the context of a wage-and-hour class action. For more on Franco, please see our prior post. The California Supreme Court explained that it will hold its disposition of Franco pending its decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation of Los Angeles, another case involving arbitration and wage-and-hour class actions. We have discussed Iskanian in more detail in a prior post.  
Continue Reading California Supreme Court Grants Review In Employment Arbitration Case

Class actions alleging that employers’ meal-break policies violate California law have long been a favorite of the plaintiffs’ bar.  Earlier this year, however, the California Supreme Court handed employers a victory in Brinker Restaurant Corp v. Superior Court, 53 Cal. 4th 1004 (Cal. 2012), holding that the obligation under the California Labor Code to provide employees with meal periods does not require the employer to affirmatively “ensure” that meal periods are actually taken.  In other words, an employer satisfactorily “provides” meal breaks if it relieves employees of their duties, relinquishes control over their activities, and permits them a reasonable
Continue Reading Brinker’s Impact on Certification of Meal-Break Class Actions in California

For years, the California Supreme Court was one of the strongest forces against arbitration in the country. A disproportionate number of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions addressing preemption under the Federal Arbitration Act have reversed decisions of the California state courts or of federal courts applying California law. A recent pro-arbitration decision (Pinnacle Museum Tower Ass’n v. Pinnacle Market Development (US), LLC, 54 Cal.4th 223, 145 Cal.Rptr.3d 514 (2012)) suggests that the tide may be turning.

We will soon find out. The court this week granted review in another major arbitration case, Iskanian v. CLS Transportation of Los Angeles, No. S204032. The new grant gives the court the opportunity to weigh in on several issues in the wake of AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011). Concepcion held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempted a California-law doctrine refusing enforcement to arbitration clauses that required individual arbitration and precluded class-wide dispute resolution.

Three issues in Iskanian are most prominent.

Continue Reading California Supreme Court Grants Review In Iskanian v. CLS Transportation; Will Address Enforceability of Employee Arbitration Agreements After Concepcion