On January 20, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for certiorari filed in CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC v. Iskanian, a case in which the California Supreme Court held that waivers of employees’ right to bring representative actions under California’s Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) are unenforceable under state law. You may read our previous post on the Iskanian decision here.
While the California Supreme Court in Iskanian declined to recognize PAGA waivers, several federal district courts are in open revolt, refusing to apply Iskanian. In fact, no fewer than four federal district courts have enforced waivers of representative PAGA claims, citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2010), which held that “when state law prohibits outright the arbitration of a particular type of claim, the analysis is straightforward: the conflicting rule is displaced by the FAA.” You may read more about federal courts’ rejection of Iskanian here and here. The U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to accept the case for hearing likely will result in a continuing split between state and federal district courts applying Iskanian — at least until the issue reaches the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over federal courts sitting in California.