Two recent California Appellate Court decisions address class arbitration waivers post-AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, the 2011 U.S. Supreme Court case that dramatically curtailed parties’ ability to challenge class action waivers in arbitration agreements. In Caron v. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA, LLC, No. G044550 (June 29, 2012), the Court reviewed a trial court decision denying a motion to compel, based on the anti-class-action-waiver provision of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act. The Appellate Court reversed, citing Concepcion, and holding that the CLRA is pre-empted by the FAA, because it acts as an obstacle to the FAA’s intention of enforcing arbitration agreements.

Likewise, in Truly Nolen of America v. Superior Court, No. D060519 (Aug. 9, 2012), the Appellate Court reversed an order allowing class-wide arbitration. The trial court had granted a motion to compel arbitration of a putative class action labor dispute, but denied the employer’s motion to direct individual arbitration, instead allowing class-wide arbitration of the claims. The employer appealed and the Appellate Court reversed, citing Concepcion. However, it remanded with instructions that the trial court hear arguments and evidence on whether the arbitration agreement in fact contained an implied right to class-wide arbitration, as argued by the plaintiff class, including extrinsic evidence of intent, if necessary, and to then rule anew on the issue of whether class-wide arbitration should be allowed.