Trial Courts Stay PAGA Actions Pending Viking River Cruises Ruling – Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration
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In Viking River Cruises, Inc. vs. MorianaCase No. 20-1573, the United States Supreme Court is set to decide later this quarter whether the Federal Arbitration Agreement (FAA) prevails over a California rule, established in Iskanian vs. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, 59 cal. 4th 348 (2014). the
iskanian The rule states that an agreement to waive an employee’s right to bring a representative action under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) is unenforceable. Lawyers seek to overthrow iskanian argue that this rule interferes with the fundamental attributes of arbitration and is inconsistent with Supreme Court precedents requiring that arbitration agreements be enforced according to their terms. (Find out more about Viking River CruisesClick here.)
the Viking River Cruises decision may be pivotal to the outcome of countless ongoing PAGA actions where the named plaintiff has signed an arbitration agreement to waive the right to bring claims except on an individual basis. If the Supreme Court decides that the FAA takes precedence over iskanianGenerally, defendants in such cases can be expected to try to enforce their arbitration agreements and compel claimants to arbitrate claims on an individual basis, rather than as representatives of other allegedly injured employees.
Given the potential impact of changing the case of Viking River Cruises, some defendants have requested that the courts stay PAGA’s actions until the Supreme Court rules. At least one court found no justification for a stay, explaining that “[s]speculation about what the United States Supreme Court
could say this june in Viking River Cruises does not affect the manner in which this Court must deal with the arbitration agreement today, under existing precedent.” Medrano v. Windsor Gardens Healthcare Ctr. of Fullerton, LLC, no. 30-2021-01179331-CU-OE-CXC, op. at 2 (Orange Super. Ct. Feb. 25, 2022) (Claster, J.).
However, other courts have been extremely responsive. As one court explained, “in the absence of a stay, there is a real risk that parties will unnecessarily argue an issue that is ultimately referred to arbitration.” Caldera vs. Glasswerks LA, Inc., No. 20STCV45749 (LA Super. Ct. Mar. 4, 2022) (Hammock, J.) (provisional confirmed by court). Another explained that “litigating claims unnecessarily” would lead to “significant waste”. Abreau v. Prospect Med. holdings, inc., no. 20STCV21447, sheet op. at 3 (LA Super. Ct. Feb. 28, 2022) (Murphy, J.). The other decisions are in agreement. For example, McKillop vs. OneHalloweenNight, Inc., no. 34-2017-00206815-CU-OE-GDS, op. at 5 (Sacramento Super. Ct. Feb. 23, 2022) (Sueyoshi, J.) (“[J]judicial economy and substantial justice compel it to be determined that this matter be stayed pending a decision of the United States Supreme Court.”); Canakie c. Safran Cabin, Inc.no. 30-2021-01222644-CU-OE-CXC (Orange Super. Ct. January 27, 2022) (Wilson, J.) (agreement).
Not only could a waste occur in the absence of a stay, a decision in Viking River Cruises is scheduled for June 2022, so any stay would be relatively brief. In a few months, it is unlikely that any evidence will be lost or that the memory of witnesses will be erased. Abreau, op. at 3 (noting that there is only a “minor risk” of availability of witnesses);
Caldera (same). As the Viking River Cruisesdecision is approaching, this concern will continue to diminish.
Depending on the court, it may be difficult at this stage for a defendant to obtain a stay motion hearing before Viking River Cruises is decided. Nonetheless, given the resonance of these arguments with trial court judges, defendants would be well advised to explore ways to defer binding undertakings (like employee-specific discovery) until after the ruling. of the Supreme Court, even though a noticeable motion is not a possibility. .
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.
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