The Retail Litigation Center (RLC), along with the California Retailers Association, filed an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court of California urging the court to restore established precedent related to the enforcement of valid arbitration agreements and bring to an end years of contentious, expensive and unproductive litigation.
The case, Iskanian v. CLS Transportation of Los Angeles, relates to the enforcement of arbitration provisions in employment agreements. In recent rulings, California courts have invalidated arbitration provisions based on an ill-defined, elastic and ever-expanding interpretation of “unconscionability.” The Amici argue that the California appellate courts’ recent decisions on the subject are inconsistent with United States Supreme Court precedent and undermine the valid purpose of arbitration agreements.
“However well-intentioned, recent California court decisions have opened the door to forces hostile to arbitration and its valid use,” said RLC President Deborah White. “By restoring arbitration to its proper place in the legal process, the California supreme court will ensure that meritorious claims are adjudicated in the forum chosen by the parties.”
According to the filing:
“The United States Supreme Court has spoken clearly, repeatedly and unequivocally: ‘the overarching purpose of the [Federal Arbitration Act]…is to ensure the enforcement of arbitration agreements according to their terms so as to facilitate streamlined proceedings.’”
“The enforceability of arbitration agreements is of great importance to employers, employees and their lawyers in California and indeed around the nation. Arbitration agreements, with or without class action waivers, are used only by some employers. However, as this Court is aware, there has been a deluge of cases in the trial courts and Courts of Appeals regarding the enforceability of employer-imposed arbitration agreements, dating back to and indeed preceding this Court’s opinion in Armendariz v. Foundation Health Psychcare Services, Inc., 24 Cal. 4th 83 (2000).”
The full brief can be found HERE. The brief was drafted by Jones Day Attorneys George S. Howard, Jr., and Mhairi L. Whitton.
The Retail Litigation Center is a public policy organization that identifies and engages in legal proceedings which affect the retail industry. The RLC, whose members include some of the country’s largest retailers, was formed to provide courts with retail industry perspectives on significant legal issues, and highlight the potential industry-wide consequences of legal principles that may be determined in pending cases.