LOS ANGELES--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Capstone Law APC won a major victory this week for current and former Ralphs employees who were allegedly cheated out of overtime pay and meal breaks. On Monday, October 28th, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Chavarria v. Ralphs Grocery Co., affirming the lower court’s decision—denying Ralphs’ Motion to Compel Arbitration—and remanding the case for further proceedings.
“[t]his decision demonstrates that California state law continues to play a robust role in determining the enforceability of employer-mandated arbitration agreements.”
The case was on appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The district court judge, Hon. Dean Pregerson, thwarted Ralphs’ attempt to compel individual arbitration of the purported employee class when he found the underlying contract—mandated as a requirement of employment—to be both procedurally and substantively unconscionable. According to Judge Pregerson, the arbitration provision ran afoul of California contract law by (1) giving Ralphs the last say in selection of an arbitrator, and (2) requiring that employees share the cost of the arbitration equally with the employer.
The Ninth Circuit panel agreed with the lower court’s analysis, stating that “Ralphs has tilted the scale so far in its favor, both in the circumstances of entering the agreement and its substantive terms, that it ‘shocks the conscience.’” Notably, the panel also found that California’s unconscionability doctrine is not preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), since it applies to contracts generally and does not disproportionately impact arbitration agreements.
The case was argued before the Ninth Circuit panel on August 8, 2013, by Glenn Danas, Senior Counsel at Capstone Law APC. According to Mr. Danas, “[t]his decision demonstrates that California state law continues to play a robust role in determining the enforceability of employer-mandated arbitration agreements.”
The full Ninth Circuit opinion is available here.
If you wish to discuss this or any other matter with us, please contact the following attorney: Stephen Gamber, Esq., Capstone Law APC, 1840 Century Park East, Suite 450, Los Angeles, CA 90067; Phone number: 310-556-4811 Email: Stephen.email@example.com