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The trial court erred in compelling arbitration of plaintiff's individual wage and hour claims while retaining jurisdiction over his PAGA claims.  The employer's arbitration clause contained a waiver of "representative" claims--a word broad enough to encompass PAGA claims.  Since PAGA claims cannot be waived, the purported waiver was invalid.  But the arbitration clause also said that the waiver provision was… Read More

Both employer and employee signed a three-page standalone arbitration agreement, but both failed to put their initials by the bolded provision that said both waived the right to a jury trial.  This decision holds that the parties are bound by the arbitration agreement.  Their signatures showed their assent to its terms which unequivocally bound them to arbitrate.  The employee's uncommunicated… Read More

Once an arbitrator has issued an "award," the arbitrator can alter or amend the award only within a prescribed time period and for strictly limited reasons.  CCP 1283.4.  Also, entry of an award triggers the court's jurisdiction to consider a petition to confirm or vacate the award.  So whether an arbitrator's ruling is an "award" has important consequences.  When the… Read More

Labor Code sections 558 and 1197.1, allow the Labor Commissioner to sue for set civil penalties in addition to an amount sufficient to recover underpaid wages if an employer fails to pay overtime wages or minimum wages as required by California law.  This decision holds that in a PAGA suit, the employee plaintiff may recover only the set civil penalty… Read More

A broad arbitration clause in plaintiff's employment agreement was ended by the separation agreement which plaintiff signed on leaving the company's employment, so it did not govern plaintiff’s later claims that defendants breached their fiduciary duties owed to him as a minority shareholder. Read More

Trial court correctly compelled arbitration of plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim, after it was unpersuaded by plaintiff’s argument that she didn’t see or read arbitration warning in her contract with the physician. Read More

As the arbitration agreement did not delegate arbitrability to the arbitrator, the arbitrator erred in deciding a dispute was not arbitrable rather than deciding the merits of the dispute, and the party submitting the dispute to arbitration could raise that error as a ground for vacating the award. Read More

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