December 16, 2021
Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana, No. 20–1573
Many California companies include arbitration provisions in their agreements with workers. Some of these provisions bar workers from pursuing wage and hour claims on a class-action or representative basis. In Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC (2014) 59 Cal.4th 348, the California Supreme Court held these provisions are enforceable as to class claims seeking private remedies, but not as to representative claims under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). According to the California Supreme Court, PAGA enables employees to sue on behalf of the State to recover civil penalties for wage and hour violations that the Labor Commissioner could otherwise seek. Iskanian also concluded the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) did not preempt this rule. Many companies have challenged Iskanian in light of intervening, pro-arbitration high court precedent, such as Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis (2018) 138 S.Ct. 1612. California Courts of Appeal have rejected every such challenge to date.
In Viking River Cruises, the U.S. Supreme Court has now agreed to decide whether the FAA preempts Iskanian’s PAGA rule.
Horvitz & Levy submitted an amicus brief in support of the petition for writ of certiorari on behalf of the Washington Legal Foundation.