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Even if an employee signed an arbitration agreement with the employer, the employee can avoid arbitrating a PAGA claim by simply not bringing one on her own behalf.  The employee has standing to sue on PAGA claims on behalf of other employees so long as she was an employee and was subjected to at least one of the Labor Code… Read More

Defendant waived the right to compel arbitration of individual PAGA claims by plaintiff and class members.  Even if the defendant got a second chance to compel arbitration when the US Supreme Court decided Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana (2022) 596 U.S. 639 and 24 class members signed arbitration agreements with defendant in 2022, it waited nearly a year (and… Read More

This decision holds that Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana (2022) 596 U.S. 639 did not undermine McGill v. Citibank, N.A. (2017) 2 Cal.5th 945 or Blair v. Rent-A-Center, Inc. (9th Cir. 2019) 928 F.3d 819 which held that Rent-A-Center's arbitration clause was unenforceable under McGill.  Viking River Cruises dealt with PAGA suits which are different from public injunctions. Read More

Employment, , 1, 1 Trial courts lack inherent authority to strike PAGA claims on manageability grounds.  Trial courts do not generally possess a broad inherent authority to dismiss claims.  Nor is it appropriate for trial courts to strike PAGA claims by employing class action manageability requirements.  Trial courts may use a vast variety of tools to efficiently manage PAGA claims,… Read More

The trial court correctly denied enforcement of the employer's arbitration agreement.  The arbitration agreement was procedurally unconscionable both because it was an adhesion contract in the employment context and because the way it was presented to the prospective employee for electronic signature made it difficult for her to read before signing.  The agreement was substantively unconscionable in containing a confidentiality… Read More

To obtain a private attorney general fee award, the applicant must show, among other things, that "the necessity and financial burden of private enforcement ... are such as to make the award appropriate."  Private enforcement is a "necessity" unless a public prosecutor or other government agency stands ready to enforce the right.  Here, the trial court abused its discretion in… Read More

This decision affirms an order denying an employer's motion to compel arbitration.  The arbitration provision purported to require arbitration of all disputes, but prohibit any form of representative action.  Following Adolph v. Uber Technologies, Inc. (2023) 14 Cal.5th 1104, such a clause is unenforceable as to PAGA claims involving Labor Code violations not suffered by the individual plaintiff.  Because the… Read More

This decision reverses a summary judgment in favor of the defendant employer against the plaintiff employee nurse who sued individually and under PAGA for violation of Labor Code sections on rest and meal breaks and payment of all wages due on termination.  The employer failed to meet its burden of proving plaintiff's claims were time barred.  While she may not… Read More

Following both Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana (2022) 142 S.Ct. 1906 and Adolph v. Uber Technologies, Inc. (2023) 14 Cal.5th 1104, this decision holds that the plaintiff must arbitrate PAGA claims that arise from Labor Code violations that affected him, but may pursue in court PAGA claims that arise from Labor Code violations affecting only other employees, not himself. Read More

Following its prior decision in Moniz v. Adecco USA, Inc. (2021) 72 Cal.App.5th 56 and disagreeing with Turrietta v. Lyft, Inc. (2021) 69 Cal.App.5th 955. this decision explains that a PAGA plaintiff need not show a personal pecuniary interest to have a substantial interest at stake that suffices to support a motion for leave to intervene in an overlapping PAGA… Read More

A prior PAGA suit against the same employer did not have claim preclusive effect as to all potential PAGA suits against the employer, nor could the release in the judicially approved agreement settling the prior suit enforceably release all potential PAGA claims against the employer.  Instead, the prior plaintiff's authority to represent the state in suing under PAGA was governed… Read More

When a plaintiff has brought a PAGA action comprising individual (i.e., violations affecting the plaintiffs) and non-individual (violations affecting only other employees) claims, an order compelling arbitration of the individual claims does not strip the plaintiff of standing as an aggrieved employee to litigate the non-individual claims on behalf of other employees under PAGA. Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in holding that a plaintiff homeowners association was not entitled to private attorney general fees under the catalyst theory.  To prevail on that theory, the court must find that the plaintiff's lawsuit was a material factor that contributed in a significant way to the defendant's adopting a changed plan or conduct that… Read More

An employer's arbitration agreement contained a carve-out provision stating that claims under PAGA are not arbitrable under this agreement.  This decision holds that the plain language of the carve-out excludes from arbitration all PAGA claims--including those individual PAGA claims that Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana (2022) 142 S.Ct. 1906 are arbitrable (absent the parties' contrary agreement). Hence, the trial… Read More

Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela (2019) 139 S.Ct. 1407 only held that ambiguity could not be construed against drafter for purposes of determining whether the parties had agreed to classwide arbitration.  It did not hold that the construction against drafter principle is inapplicable to other types of ambiguities in the arbitration agreement.  In any event, there was no ambiguity in… Read More

Following Galarsa v. Dolgen California, LLC (2023) 88 Cal.App.5th 639 and Piplack v. In-N-Out Burgers (2023) 2023 Cal. App. LEXIS 166, this decision holds that plaintiff's individual PAGA claims (i.e., those which are based on Lab. Code violations affecting the plaintiff) must be arbitrated.  However, representative PAGA claims based on Lab. Code violations affecting only employees other than the plaintiff… Read More

Reaching the same result as Galarsa v. Dolgen California, LLC (2023) 2023 Cal. App. LEXIS 129, this decision holds that plaintiff's individual PAGA claims (i.e., those which are based on Lab. Code violations affecting the plaintiff) must be arbitrated.  However, representative PAGA claims based on Lab. Code violations affecting only employees other than the plaintiff are not subject to arbitration,… Read More

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