NT Lakis lawyers have filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court urging review and reversal of a federal appeals court ruling that found that an arbitrator rather than a court had the authority to decide whether an arbitration agreement allowed for class arbitration. Although the agreement here was a consumer arbitration agreement, the case has direct application to employment arbitration agreements as well.

In Spirit Airlines, Inc. v. Maizes, 899 F.3d 1230 (11th Cir. 2018), the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, using attenuated reasoning, concluded that the parties had agreed to have the arbitrator decide the question of class arbitrability, even though the arbitration agreement itself did not explicitly say that the parties had chosen to depart from the general rule that a court should decide arbitrability questions.

Our brief to the High Court, in support of the company’s petition seeking review, argues that Supreme Court precedent requires “clear and unmistakable” evidence that the parties intended to send class arbitrability questions to an arbitrator. We contend that this “clear and unmistakable” test cannot be met by merely incorporating standard commercial arbitration rules, which the appeals court did in this case to conclude the arbitrator should decide. 

A copy of our brief is available here.  

Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.