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Does trial court lack authority to rule on enforceability of arbitration agreement where delegation of this authority to arbitrator was clear and not revocable?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In Tiri v. Lucky Chances, Inc. (filed 5/15/14) A136675, Plaintiff Tiri had signed an arbitration agreement with defendant, her employer. Included in the agreement was a provision that the arbitrator, instead of the court, would determine all issues of enforceability of the agreement. Upon her termination, plaintiff sued for wrongful termination, and defendant filed a […]

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Is the stipulation to “high-low” arbitration binding only if reflected in the judgment in the case?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In Horath v. Hess (filed 4/10/14) D063124 & D063709, prior to arbitration of an automobile personal injury case, the parties stipulated in writing to the acceptance of a minimum award of $44,000 and a maximum of $100,000; the agreement was not disclosed to the arbitrator who was to independently determine his award. Any costs awarded […]

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May an adhesive, yet bilateral, employment arbitration clause that is not unduly harsh, oppressive or one-sided be found unconscionable and unenforceable?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In Sanchez v. CarMax Auto Superstores California, LLC (filed 2/6/14, publication ordered 3/4/14) B244772, plaintiff signed an arbitration agreement as a part of his employment application. He was hired as service manager and remained in that position until he was terminated about 4½ years later. In his lawsuit, plaintiff claimed the reason cited for his […]

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What is the effect of the U.S. Supreme Court’s invalidation of a California rule imposed to refuse enforcement of arbitration provisions upon similar cases?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

The U.S. Supreme Court found in At&t Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (2011) 563 U.S. ___ [131 S.Ct. 1740] that a California Supreme Court rule stated in that case, which found the arbitration clause agreed upon between the parties was invalid due to unconscionability, was preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act. Shortly before Concepcion, the state […]

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May City avoid, based on policymaking powers, collectively bargained MOU arbitration regarding grievance over mandatory employee furloughs?

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In City of Los Angeles v. Superior Court ( filed 6/21/13) S192828, City, after declaring a fiscal emergency, placed civilian employees on a mandatory unpaid furlough requiring one less 8-hour work day during each 80-hour work period. Employees filed grievances. Wage and hour provisions of the collectively bargained MOU provided that employees would be compensated […]

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Does arbitrator’s failure to disclose membership in same ADR organization as defense counsel void award even if information of conflict available to plaintiff?

Posted by Ronald Henderson on

In Gray v. Chiu (filed January 22, 2013) 2013 DJDAR 944, Judge Haber (Retired), a member of ADR Services, Inc., the dispute provider resolution organization in this case, was selected as the third member of an arbitration panel to preside as a neutral arbitrator in this medical malpractice matter. He sent disclosure statements to the […]

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Arbitration covenant that runs with the land binds homeowners and their association even though neither was a direct party to the covenant

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

One of the earlier blog articles that I wrote on this site commented on the trend of California appellate cases questioning the fairness of arbitration clauses that often left the non-drafting party without any bargaining power. While many of these situations arise in the context of disadvantaged consumers and employees directly contracting with the drafting […]

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Former human resource director’s deceiving employer she had executed arbitration agreement neither implies agreement nor estops her from denying.

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In Gorlach v. The Sports Club Company. B233672 (filed October 16, 2012), the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Four, affirmed the trial court’s denying defendant’s motion to compel arbitration. While the defendant conceded that plaintiff never signed a written contract to arbitrate, defendant claimed equitable estoppel or implied-in-fact agreement. Plaintiff Susan Gorlach resigned […]

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Purported appeal of order compelling arbitration treated as extraordinary petition; order compelling individual arbitration affirmed

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

In Nelsen v. Legacy Partners Residential, Inc. (filed July 18, 2012) 2012 DJDAR 9956, plaintiff Lorena Nelson worked for defendant as a property manager from 2006 to 2009. Early in her employment she received a 43-page pre-printed form employee handbook that included a small-print arbitration clause at page 42 headed “TEAM MEMBER ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND AGREEMENT.” […]

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Public policy considerations no longer a bar to enforcement of class action waiver in employment arbitration agreement

Posted by Steven Vartabedian on

AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (2011) __ U.S.__ [131 S. Ct 1740] changed the legal landscape concerning class arbitrations. The United States Supreme expressly overturned the California Supreme Court ruling in Discover Bank v. Superior Court (2005) 36 Cal.4th 153, which had held that class action waivers in contracts of adhesion subject to arbitration are […]

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