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Arbitration-Skeptical California Supreme Court Takes Up Cases

The Recorder's Marisa Kendall reports on the ebb and flow between arbitration and class actions and the U.S. Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in AT& T Mobility v. Concepcion led to class actions drying up; the justices found that the Federal Arbitration Act pre-empted California's ban on class arbitration. As a result, companies shielded themselves with agreements providing that disputes with customers and employees must be resolved through arbitration.

But the California Supreme Court has agreed to review whether consumers seeking injunctive relief under California law can be forced into arbitration. The California justices also will hear a case that will "potentially lay out new grounds by which courts can reject unfair or one-sided arbitration agreements." In the latter case, the Kendall reports the California Supreme Court is likely to use the case to clarify what makes an arbitration agreement too one-sided or unfair to enforce.