• Enforceability of Waivers of Class-Wide Relief in Arbitration Agreements
  • May 15, 2008 | Author: Julie Simone Sneed
  • Law Firm: Fowler White Boggs P.A. - Tampa Office
  • Increasingly, courts have concluded that the enforceability of arbitration provisions waiving class-wide relief must be determined on a case- by- case basis.

    Recently, the Supreme Court let stand a state supreme court decision which essentially held that the enforceability of a class arbitration waiver provision in an employment agreement depends upon the trial court’s determination of the efficacy of class arbitration considering the facts of the case. Circuit City Stores, Inc. v. Gentry, No. 07-998, 2008 WL 292875, ___ S.Ct. ___, (U.S. Mar. 31, 2008). Circuit City Stores, Inc. asked the Supreme Court to review the California Supreme Court’s decision in Gentry v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, 165 P.3d 556 (Cal. 2007). The Supreme Court declined to review the state supreme court’s decision.

    Likewise, the Eleventh Circuit has held that the “enforceability of a particular class action waiver in an arbitration agreement must be determined on a case-by-case basis, considering the totality of the facts and circumstances.” Dale v. Comcast Corp., 498 F.3d 1216, 1224 (11th Cir. 2007). The court explained that relevant circumstances could include the fairness of the provisions and the cost to an individual plaintiff of vindicating the claim when compared to the plaintiff’s potential recovery among other considerations. 498 F.3d at 1224.