United States Supreme Court Rejects California State Courts’ Attempt to Sidestep Federal Arbitration Act Preemption on Class Action Waivers
By: Andrew C. Glass, Robert W. Sparkes III, Roger L. Smerage
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a California state court’s decision striking down a class action waiver in an arbitration agreement was an improper attempt to evade the Supreme Court’s 2011 landmark decision in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion. See DirecTV, Inc. v. Imburgia, 577 U.S. — (No. 14-462) (Dec. 14, 2015). Concepcion held that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) preempts state law to the extent it purports to bar the inclusion of class action waivers in arbitration agreements. Imburgia reiterates that holding and concludes that because the California court had interpreted the subject arbitration agreement in a manner “restricted to [the] field” of arbitration, as opposed to contracts generally, the interpretation could not withstand scrutiny under the FAA.