Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Citing AAA Rules Held Sufficent to Let the Arbitrator Decide Class Arbitration Issue

Univ. Protection Serv. v. Superior Court, No. D066919 (D4d1, as amended Mar. 12, 2015)

As we’ve discussed, when it comes to deciding whether an arbitration can occur on class basis there is a division of authority (upon which review has been granted by the California Supreme Court) as to whether it is an issue for the court to decide. Although there is general agreement that the issue can be assigned to the arbitrator if the parties clearly express that intent. Going with the majority rule (that the court decides) the court here holds that the trial court erred in determining that the issue is by default for the arbitrator. But the parties agreement specifically invoked a set of AAA rules that clearly state that the arbitrator decides whether a class claim can be brought. That was enough, in the court’s opinion, to get out of the default rule. So even though the trial court got the rule wrong, the result was right.

Writ denied.

Update: Review granted June 10, 2015.

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