John Lewis

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The Supreme Court Now To Determine the Boundaries of Federal Court Jurisdiction Over Federal Arbitration Act Proceedings

The U.S. Supreme Court has now granted certiorari to decide if federal courts have subject matter jurisdiction to confirm or vacate an arbitration award under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), Sections 9 and 10.  9 U.S.C. §§ 9 & 10.  See Badgerow v. Walters, No. 20-1143 (Cert. granted 5-17-21).  The question presented is “[w]hether federal … Continue Reading

Opinion of Wisconsin District Judge Again Illustrates that Arbitration Is a Creature of Contract

In deciding a reoccurring issue, Judge James D. Peterson of the Western District of Wisconsin found no valid arbitration agreement existed, because of a disclaimer in a 48-page employee handbook. See O’Bryan v. Pember Companies, Inc., Case No. 20-cv-664jdp, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88300 (N.D. Wisc. May 10, 2021). In O’Bryan, an employee of Pember … Continue Reading

Can You Waive Appellate Review of an Arbitration Award? The Fourth Circuit Says Yes

Many arbitration agreements address the finality of any resulting award, with differing and sometimes vague language. A number of readers might assume that regardless of the agreement language, federal courts still retain jurisdiction to review awards under the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 10 (FAA). As a recent Fourth Circuit opinion reveals, the interpretation … Continue Reading

Order Sending Former Mail Sorter to Arbitration Teaches Some Lessons About Who Is a Transportation Worker and Agreement Coverage

Since 2019, we have been tracking the decisions struggling to interpret the scope of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) Section 1 exemption for transportation workers. In other words, we’ve looked at who qualifies as a transportation worker “actually engaged in the movement of goods in interstate commerce,” as Circuit City Stores Inc. v. Adams, 532 … Continue Reading

Implicit Waiver of The Right to Arbitrate by Litigation – A Massachusetts District Court Addresses The Factors

Complex cases can present difficult legal issues but may also illuminate how courts evaluate questions such as when a party has waived its right to arbitrate. This is true regardless of the type of claims presented because the analytical framework spans diverse areas of law. District Judge Allison D. Burroughs’ recent Memorandum and Order addresses … Continue Reading

Once More Before the High Court – Henry Schein, Inc. v. Archer And White Sales, Inc. – But New Questions Emerge

We know now under Epic Systems that arbitration agreements with class action waivers can be enforced, but questions continue to emerge from specific arbitral agreements and instances where they are silent on certain issues, such as who determines whether a dispute is arbitrable in the first place. In 2019, some may have thought that the … Continue Reading

Food Delivery Driver Opinion Sheds More Light on the FAA Exemption and Use of CPR Arbitration Rules

Plaintiff Jacob McGrath filed a nationwide Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) action ultimately involving approximately 4,000 food delivery drivers for DoorDash Inc. alleging that the drivers, known as “Dashers,” were misclassified as independent contractors and not paid for all hours they worked. DoorDash responded by filing a motion to compel arbitration for those individuals who … Continue Reading

Florida Decision Involving Workers Unable to Read English Illustrates the Basics for an Enforceable Arbitration Agreement

Sometimes, a decision can detail the requirements for an enforceable employee arbitration agreement better than a legal treatise. That is certainly true in Gustave v. SBE ENT Holdings, LLC, No. 1:19-cv-23961 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 30, 2020). In Gustave, 19 former food and beverage or kitchen workers at the Delano Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, brought … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Doesn’t Require Uber to Litigate Driver’s Data Security Breach Putative Class Action

A Ninth Circuit panel denied a mandamus petition attempting to overturn a district court order requiring arbitration of a putative class action brought by an Uber driver. The action claimed that Uber failed to protect drivers’ and riders’ personal information and botched a data security breach by online hackers. The district court ultimately concluded that … Continue Reading

Who Is ‘Engaged in Commerce’ Under FAA Section 1? Not Food Delivery Drivers

Certain Grubhub Inc. delivery drivers brought two putative collective and class actions asserting that they were misclassified as independent contractors, resulting in both federal and state wage and hour violations. The drivers – who worked in Chicago, Portland and New York – had signed Delivery Service Provider Agreements that required arbitration but claimed their agreements … Continue Reading

Arbitrator’s Joke Not Sufficient to Vacate Award in Putative Antitrust Class Action

A poor joke and unsubstantiated hero worship were insufficient to overturn an arbitrator’s award in favor of Travis Kalanick and Uber Technologies Inc., according to U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff. In an Aug. 3 memorandum and order, Rakoff denied the plaintiff’s motion to vacate an arbitration award in the defendants’ favor arising from a … Continue Reading

The Third Circuit Demonstrates That Arbitration Rules Really Do Matter

Some may have wondered whether mentioning the rules of an administrative organization, such as the American Arbitration Association (AAA), in an arbitration agreement could have a legal impact.  It can. A number of decisions have considered how referencing specific arbitral rules can affect delegation of authority to an arbitrator or aggregate action issues. See our … Continue Reading

Another Court Rules on When Ride-Sharing Drivers Are Exempt From Arbitration

In this time of concern regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, there are other challenges still confronting companies. One involves the standard for enforcing arbitration agreements involving transportation workers. Or, stated differently, when drivers may be exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). We have previously covered the courts’ struggles to deal with the fallout from New … Continue Reading

District Court Preliminarily Enjoins Enforcement of California’s A.B. 51 Anti-Arbitration Law

Since Oct. 11, 2019, we have been blogging about California’s new anti-arbitration law and the injunctive action filed before Chief District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to enjoin it. Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America v. Bacerra, No. 2:19-cv-02456 (E.D. Cal.). See our blog articles of Oct. 11, 2019, Dec. 30, 2019 and … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Now Addresses When Notices of Collective Action Can be Given to Employees Who May Have Arbitration Agreements Waiving Their Right to Join

Whether to give notices of a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to employees who may join presents some nuanced and challenging questions for district courts. The court must “respect judicial neutrality and avoid even the appearance of endorsing the action’s merits.” See Hoffmann-LaRoche Inc. v. Sperling, 493 U.S. 165, 171-174 (1989). … Continue Reading

Update on the TRO Issued in the Case Involving California’s AB 51 Anti-Arbitration Law

On Jan. 10, 2020 Chief District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller further defined the scope, issues and duration of the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) she initially issued on Dec. 30, 2019. We blogged about the new California legislation and the TRO issued in Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America v. Bacerra, No. 2:19-cv-02456 … Continue Reading

District Court Temporarily Enjoins Enforcement of California’s AB 51 Anti-Arbitration Provision

A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order halting the enforcement of Assembly Bill 51, California’s latest attempt to prevent arbitration of claims brought under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. We initially wrote about this statute, which sought to criminalize the use of arbitration agreements, on Oct. 11, 2019. AB 51, slated … Continue Reading

California Enacts Anti-Arbitration Legislation, but Will the FAA Limit Its Potential Impact? Not Entirely.

On Oct. 10, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law an attempt by California’s Legislature to limit arbitration of claims under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). FEHA prohibits harassment, discrimination and retaliation on the basis of various protected characteristics, such as gender, age, disability or national origin. Taking effect Jan. 1, 2020, AB 51 … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Opinion Involving Uber Only Adds More Questions to the Dispute Over the Scope of the FAA Section 1 Residual Clause

Recent decisions have cast doubt on the enforcement of arbitration clauses in the context of the interstate transportation of goods, but will those limitations extend to the transportation of passengers? And what if the movement does not cross state lines? In a Sept. 11, 2019, opinion, the Third Circuit found that the residual clause of … Continue Reading
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