In three major cases this year, California appellate courts or the Supreme Court have refused to enforce arbitration agreements. Two of them (Brown v. Ralph’s Grocery Company (2011) ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (2nd Dist., B222689) and Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Company, LLC (2011) ___Cal.App.4th___ (2nd Dist., B228027), came after AT & T Mobility v. Concepcion (2011) ___ U.S. ___.CBL has been wondering if SCOTUS was likely to smite them down.
Well, here's a hint. In February, before Concepcion, the Cal Supremes decided Sonic Calbassas A., Inc. v. Moreno (2011) 51 Cal.4th 659. This was a wage and hour case, in which Cal Supremes held that an arbitration agreement did not bar an employee from using a statutory, pro-employee administrative procedure before the State Labor Commissioner to try to get a favorable ruling instead of going straight to contractual arbitration.
The employer filed a cert petition, to which the US Supreme Court tersely responded:
The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the Supreme Court of California for further consideration in light of AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 563 U.S. ___ (2011).
Somehow I think we may be seeing some more rulings like that one.