A California appellate court upheld denial of a motion to compel arbitration of an underlying labor employment dispute. Martha Hoover brought a wrongful termination class action against American Home Life Insurance Company, arising from its termination of her agent contract, which American Home characterized as creating an independent contractor relationship with Hoover. Her claims were brought under state labor laws, relying on her assertion that she and other similarly situated agents should be treated as statutory employees, and that American Home violated the class members’ statutory employment rights. American Home moved to compel arbitration of the dispute pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement that incorporated Hoover’s agency contract, and which contained an arbitration clause. Nevertheless, the trial court denied the motion to compel, finding that, (1) the agreement did not apply to Hoover’s claims, to the extent she was a statutory employee, and so was not in dispute; and (2) even if it did, American Home waived its right to arbitration by waiting a year to invoke its right to arbitrate. Hoover v. American Income Life Ins. Co., No. E052864 (Cal. App. May 16, 2012).
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Appellate court affirms denial of motion to compel arbitration
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