Retailers Urge SCOTUS: Affirm National Arbitration Standard

The Retail Litigation Center (RLC) has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a case that can restore nationwide consistency to the Federal Arbitration Act, which protects the rights of both employees and employers to affirmatively choose bilateral arbitration over other means of resolving disputes.

Currently, California has, in effect, placed its own labor-law claims outside the scope of the Federal Arbitration Act by simply designating a part of the recovery as the property of the State.  Therefore, no matter how clearly employees might declare their intention to resolve disputes thru arbitration and received benefits as a result, the California Private Attorneys General Act gives them a “Get Out of Your Bilateral Arbitration Agreement Free” card as long as the employee will tithe 75 percent of their winnings to the State.

California represents a huge proportion of national labor-law claims: Current Bureau of Labor Statistics figures indicate that over 11% of all nonfarm employees in the United States are in California.  That means that, when it comes to one of the most critical areas of law for retailers in the Nation’s most economically critical state, there might as well not be a Federal Arbitration Act at all.

“The Court should not permit this divergence between California and the remainder of the states to remain in place,” said Deborah White, RLC President. “In practice, the situation is no different from one in which there is a deep and entrenched circuit conflict:  Nationwide retailers must learn to accommodate themselves to one set of rules in one jurisdiction, and a different set in another, with no end in sight, despite an on-point federal statute prescribing a single nationwide approach to enforce freely chosen arbitration agreements. The status quo creates an intolerable inconsistency across jurisdictions that is ripe for Supreme Court attention. The Court needs to accept this case and resolve the issue.”

The RLC submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the petition for certiorari. The RLC’s brief was drafted by Eric Citron of Goldstein & Russell, an RLC Law Firm Member. The case is Viking River Cruises, Inc. v Angie Morina.
Retail Litigation Center
Directed by the chief legal officers of the country's leading retail companies, the Retail Litigation Center (RLC) is the only organization dedicated to advocating for the industry's top priorities in the federal and state judiciary. The RLC also works with leading law firms and retail corporate counsel to develop forward-thinking strategies to combat meritless mass action litigation. Founded by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) in 2010 as an independent organization, the RLC is a 501(c)(6) membership association open to all retailers and select law firms.
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