“California appellate courts continue to pretend that they can ignore U.S. Supreme Court decisions interpreting federal law. It is time for the Supreme Court to remind them they cannot do so.”
—John Masslon, WLF Senior Litigation Counsel

Click here for WLF’s brief.

WASHINGTON, DC—Today Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an important arbitration case. Although the Court previously vacated the California Court of Appeal’s decision in this case, the California court held that it was “not bound” by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.

The appeal arises from a suit filed by Million Seifu against Lyft under California’s Private Attorney General Act. Despite agreeing to an arbitration clause barring such suits, Seifu sued in California state court arguing that Lyft misclassified drivers as independent contractors. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated a decision declining to dismiss the representative claim and remanded for proceedings consistent with Viking River v. Moriana. But on remand the Court of Appeal doubled down, holding that it was “not bound” by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision requiring dismissal of Seifu’s representative claim.

As WLF’s brief shows, the Supreme Court has been battling California courts for decades over arbitration. California courts have done everything they can to avoid enforcing the FAA. These decisions have ignored binding Supreme Court precedent. It is time for the Supreme Court to put an end to this obstinance and grant the petition here to remind California courts that they cannot ignore binding precedent.

WLF’s brief also describes how the Court of Appeal’s decision here and the California Supreme Court’s decision in Adolph v. Uber ignore Viking River. In Viking River, the Supreme Court held that when a party agrees to arbitrate individual PAGA claims and bars arbitration of representative claims, the FAA requires complete severance of the individual claims from the representative claims. The individual claims go to arbitration and the representative claims are dismissed because there is no longer anyone to maintain those claims. But the California courts ignored this rule and pretended a procedure that ignores the FAA’s requirement is a construction of state law that can avoid the Supreme Court’s review. The Supreme Court should see through that chicanery and grant Lyft’s petition.

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