The Supreme Court has announced that it will hear oral argument on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. in Los Angeles in Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno, S174475. This case, while not a class action, involves arbitration-related issues and the Court is expected to construe Concepcion.
This is the statement of the issue on review (from the docket):
This case presents the following issues: (1) Can a mandatory employment arbitration agreement be enforced prior to the conclusion of an administrative proceeding conducted by the Labor Commissioner concerning an employee's statutory wage claim? (2) Was the Labor Commissioner's jurisdiction over employee's statutory wage claim divested by the Federal Arbitration Act under Preston v. Ferrer (2008) __ U.S. __, 128 S.Ct. 978, 169 L.Ed.2d 917?
The Supreme Court said "no" to both questions in its February 2011 (pre-Concepcion) opinion, which held that a provision in an employment contract waiving the right to a Berman hearing in favor of arbitration was unconscionable. Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno, 51 Cal.4th 659 (2011). Justice Moreno's majority opinion was joined by Chief Justice George, Justice Kennard, and Justice Werdegar; Justices Chin, Baxter and Corrigan dissented.
In October 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court granted cert. and directed that the case be reconsidered in light of Concepcion. Last year, supplemental briefs were filed by the parties and several amicus participants. This briefing was completed in July 2012.
Since the original opinion was handed down, Chief Justice George and Justice Moreno have both departed the Court and been replaced by Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Justice Liu, respectively. It is very hard to predict where this might go, but the opinion is almost sure to be relevant to the pending Sanchez and Iskanian cases.
I am unlikely to be able to make it down to LA for this argument. If you are planning to attend and would like to write up a report for posting here, please let me know.