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Friday, March 8, 2013

Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno: California Supreme Court Schedules Oral Argument

The California Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at 9:00 a.m., in Los Angeles. Hearings are at the Ronald Reagan State Office Building, 300 South Spring Street, Third Floor, North Tower.

As a reminder, in Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno (2011) 51 Cal.4th 659, the California Supreme Court held: (1) an employee's "statutory right to seek a Berman hearing [a wage hearing before the DLSE or Labor Commissioner], with all the possible protections that follow from it, is itself an unwaivable right that an employee cannot be compelled to relinquish as a condition of employment;" (2) waiver of an employee's right to seek a Berman hearing is a substantively unconscionable contract term; and (3) the Federal Arbitration Act does not preempt the Court's holdings on points one and two.

The Supreme Court of the United States granted review and vacated that decision, remanding the case for further consideration in light of AT&T Mobility LLC v Concepcion 563 U.S. ___ (2011).

The issues presented are as follows:

  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 Court's web page for the case is here.  

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