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You Win Some and You Lose Some, but Rarely at the Same Time – Iskanian and the California Supreme Court’s Conflicting Treatment of Group-Wide Lawsuits

August 18, 2014

By JAMES CARTER & MEGAN TRAVERSO

In Iskanian v. CLS Transportation, Los Angeles, LLC, 59 Cal. 4th 348 (2014), the California Supreme Court recently confirmed an employerfriendly trend in appellate court decisions: Class action waivers contained in pre-employment arbitration agreements are enforceable by virtue of Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preemption, and the California Supreme Court’s decision in Gentry v. Superior Court, 42 Cal. 4th 443 (2007), has been overruled by later U.S. Supreme Court decisions. This is a significant win, reversing previous California court decisions that voided arbitration agreement class action waivers on the premise that they violated state public policy. The Iskanian decision provides all the fodder necessary for employers to enforce the class action waivers in their arbitration agreements. Good news, right? Well, don’t rush out to file your motion to compel arbitration just yet.

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