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Monday, November 8, 2010

AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion: SCOTUS Sets Oral Argument in Consumer Arbitration Dispute

On Tuesday, November 9, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral argument in AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Concepcion (No. 09-893). This case could decide the future of class action practice in the United States. The questions presented are:
Whether the Federal Arbitration Act preempts States from conditioning the enforcement of an arbitration agreement on the availability of particular procedures - here, class-wide arbitration - when those procedures are not necessary to ensure that the parties to the arbitration agreement are able to vindicate their claims.
Although I normally don't try to guess how appellate courts will rule, the question's phrasing seems to give a pretty clear indication of where the Court is headed with this one.

It also appears to open the door for lower courts to distinguish this case by finding that class-wide arbitration is necessary in other contexts. See, e.g., Gentry v. Superior Court (2007) 42 Cal.4th 443, discussed here.

Our post on the Ninth Circuit's decision in the underlying matter, Laster v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 584 F.3d 849 (9th Cir. October 27, 2009), is here. The Supreme Court's docket for Concepcion is here.

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