On January 19, the Second District Court of Appeal published an opinion in Gentry v. Superior Court (Circuit City), upholding a clause in a pre-dispute arbitration agreement that precluded class arbitrations. The clause required all employees to agree to arbitration for all "covered disputes" and to assert those claims only as individuals and not on behalf of a class. If enforceable, it would have precluded any class litigation by Circuit City employees. The court found the Supreme Court's holding in Discover Bank v. Superior Court (2005) 36 Cal.4th 148 (striking a class action waiver clause in a credit card agreement) inapplicable to the Circuit City employee's circumstances.
Today, the California Supreme Court granted review of Gentry v. Superior Court, and granted and held review of a similar case, Jones v. Citigroup, Inc., in which the Court of Appeal enforced a class action waiver added to a credit card agreement through a billing notice which included a right to opt out. Congratulations to Matt Righetti, Ellen Lake and Dennis Riordan, who represent Gentry.