Two new opinions addressing arbitration issues were handed down last Tuesday, June 4, 2013.
In Brown v. Superior Court (Morgan Tire & Auto, LLC), ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Jun. 4, 2013), the Court of Appeal (Sixth Appellate District) followed the lead of the other Brown case, and held that a "no-class-or-representative-action" arbitration clause could not defeat the plaintiffs' statutory right to bring a representative PAGA claim and seek penalties on behalf of the state. Slip op. at 13-20 (citing Brown v. Ralphs Grocery Co., 197 Cal.App.4th 489 (2011)).
This case is likely to be taken up as a "grant and hold" pending resolution of Iskanian v. CLS Transportation, case no. S204032 (review granted 09/19/12). The latest in Iskanian is that a significant number of amicus curiae briefs were filed in mid-May. An extension of time was granted for the parties to file their consolidated answers to the amici briefs. The answers are now due on July 15, 2013.
In Vargas v. SAI Monrovia B, Inc., ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Jun. 4, 2013), the Court of Appeal (Second Appellate District, Division One) struck down a no-class-action arbitration clause in a vehicle installment sales contract as "permeated by unconscionability" under Armendariz. The opinion allows the action to proceed in court as a class action for violation of the UCL, CLRA and other statutes.
This case could well be taken up as a "grant and hold" pending resolution of Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Co., case no. S199119 (review granted 03/21/12). Sanchez has been fully briefed since last year, and could be set for oral argument at any time. The next argument dates on the Supreme Court's calendar are not until the first week of September. The cases to be heard that week should be announced by early August.
The opinion in Sonic-Calabasas, case no. 174475, which was argued on April 3, 2013, must be filed no later than July 2, 2013. Because that's a Tuesday, and the Supreme Court issues opinions on Mondays and Thursdays, we'll have it by Monday, July 1, 2013.