“California’s courts plainly need to be told—again—how to apply the Federal Arbitration Act.”
—Corbin K. Barthold, WLF Litigation Counsel

Click here for WLF’s brief.

(Washington, DC)—Washington Legal Foundation today filed an amicus curiae brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to review a California Court of Appeal ruling inconsistent with the Federal Arbitration Act.

The FAA empowers parties to resolve legal conflicts using efficient, streamlined procedures tailored to the type of dispute. To operate properly, however, the FAA must apply consistently across the nation. California’s courts have repeatedly created inconsistency.

Armendariz v. Foundation Health Psychcare Services, Inc., 24 Cal. 4th 83 (2000), creates special contract defenses that govern only arbitration clauses. The federal Supreme Court has repeatedly declared that an arbitration clause must be treated like any other contract, yet the California courts have continued to apply Armendariz. The Court of Appeal here used Armendariz to void an arbitration agreement between a law firm and one of its former partners.

In its brief, WLF reviews the California courts’ history of failing to faithfully apply the Supreme Court’s FAA rulings. WLF also explores the variety of ways in which the California courts exhibit bias against arbitration clauses. WLF asks the Supreme Court both to discard Armendariz and to remind California’s courts of the FAA’s demand that neutral rules be applied neutrally.

Celebrating its 42nd year as America’s premier public-interest law firm and policy center, WLF advocates for free-market principles, limited government, individual liberty, and the rule of law.