NT Lakis lawyers recently filed a brief in yet another important arbitration case accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court for review – Lamps Plus v. Varela, No. 17-988 (2018) – in which we argue that the notoriously pro-plaintiff Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was wrong in ordering class arbitration based on its finding that an arbitration agreement that was silent on the issue nevertheless contained a “contractual basis” for compelling class arbitration.

To put the case in perspective, the Supreme Court in 2010 ruled in Stolt-Nielsen, S.A. v. AnimalFeeds International Corp., that under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), parties to an arbitration agreement cannot be forced to submit to class arbitration procedures “unless there is a contractual basis for concluding that the party agreed to do so.” Although the Court made clear in refusing to compel class arbitration in that case that a mere implication is insufficient, it did not elaborate further on the key term “contractual basis.”

In Lamps Plus, the Ninth Circuit ordered class arbitration even though the underlying arbitration agreement was silent on the issue, somehow concluding that there was nevertheless a “contractual basis” for doing so. Our brief contends that there was in fact no such contractual basis for ordering class arbitration.

A copy of our brief in Lamps Plus is available here.

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