Arbitration/Mediation - Vision Law

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  • By: Scott Shibayama, Esq.
  • Published: September 30, 2016

Arbitration is a critical tool for California and small and medium businesses to deal with the escalating costs of traditional litigation. Arbitration allows employer-employee disputes to be resolved in a quicker, less formal manner. That does not sit well with many judges and plaintiff’s attorneys, who continue to mount attacks on the validity of arbitration agreements despite the mandates of federal law and binding U.S. Supreme Court precedent. Ernst & Young Faces Class Action Despite Signed Arbitration Agreements On August 22, a three-judge panel of…Read More

  • By: Scott Shibayama, Esq.
  • Published: September 26, 2016

Employee handbooks are an essential legal document that every California small and medium business (SMB) should have. An effective employee handbook spells out what you expect from your employees and helps protect your business from potential lawsuits. But if you want an enforceable arbitration agreement for employment disputes don’t bury it in your employee handbook. Use a separate stand-alone arbitration agreement. Second District Holds Employee Handbook Did Not Create A Binding Contract Can an employee handbook include an agreement between the employer and employee to…Read More

  • By: Scott Shibayama, Esq.
  • Published: September 12, 2016

Arbitration has always been a controversial issue in California employment law. State judges are typically more hostile towards private arbitration agreements than federal courts. This puts a burden on employers, who must fight just to enforce arbitration agreements that their employees agreed to. But even when employers offer arbitration agreements under clear terms it can take a trip to federal court just to settle the question of how far such an agreement may extend. Can Your Business Arbitrate The Decision To Arbitrate? Employees frequently try…Read More

  • By: Scott Shibayama, Esq.
  • Published: July 9, 2014

More Good News For California Employers On The Employment Arbitration Front. Within one month, we have two California courts of appeal ensuring employment arbitration agreements are enforced according to their terms, as they should be. The cases are Tiri v. Lucky Chances, Inc. (5/14/2014) and Malone v. Superior Court (6/17/2014). So what’s an arbitration “delegation clause?” If the arbitration agreement itself delegates issues concerning enforceability or interpretation of the arbitration agreement to the arbitrator, then courts don’t get to decide whether the agreement is unconscionable. Here’s the delegation…Read More

  • By: Scott Shibayama, Esq.
  • Published: July 6, 2014

The California Supreme Court has ruled California employers may avoid employee class action lawsuits through binding arbitration. (Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, 6/23/2014). This is clearly a big win for all employers, large and small. California Employment Arbitration Agreements For California employers, arbitration has been a super roller coaster ride. It’s been up, then down, then up again. Before 2000, things were pretty good. Then a California Supreme Court case called Armendariz (read more here) came along and downhill we went for 11 years. During…Read More

  • By: Scott Shibayama, Esq.
  • Published: October 19, 2013

Can an employer and employee agree to litigate wage claims before an arbitrator rather than the Labor Commissioner? Two days ago, the California Supreme Court issued its Sonic-Calabasas II decision that was supposed to answer that question.  But the case creates more confusion in an already uncertain and hotly litigated area of law.    Why Is Sonic-Calabasas A, Inc. v. Moreno So Important For Small/Medium Employers?  If an employer can defend an employee wage claim before a neutral decision maker in arbitration versus the Labor Commissioner, it’s likely to choose arbitration. …Read More

  • By: Scott Shibayama, Esq.
  • Published: July 1, 2013

Recent rulings of the Supreme Court of the United States have called into question key California arbitration decisions.  US Supreme Court decisions such as Preston v. Ferrer (2008), Stolt-Nielsen v. AnimalFeeds International Corp. (2010), AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (2011), and American Express v. Italian Colors Rest. (2013) have made clear federal law under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) trumps state laws and courts that are hostile to arbitration. This is a welcome development for those who represent employers in California.  California courts since the California Supreme Court’s Armendariz v. Foundation Health Psychcare…Read More

  • By: Scott Shibayama, Esq.
  • Published: June 21, 2013

We recently posted on class arbitration rules for business.  Just 10 days later, the US Supreme Court has issued another ruling enforcing class arbitration waivers in binding arbitration agreements. The case is American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant (6/20/2013).  It says a large charge card company can require its small business merchant customer to arbitrate on a one-on-one basis only, not on a class-wide basis. The American Express case applied another case, AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 131 S.Ct. 1740, in doing so.  AT&T Mobility allowed a large telephone company to compel a…Read More

  • By: Scott Shibayama, Esq.
  • Published: June 11, 2013

In a trio of cases since 2010, the US Supreme Court has telegraphed “best practices” for avoiding class arbitrations for consumer and employee claims. Best Practices To Avoid Class Actions And Class-Wide Arbitration First the “best practices.”  If you are a businesses that wants to arbitrate disputes but wants to prevent class wide arbitration pay attention. The US Supreme Court appears to be telling you to: Write your arbitration agreements under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA); Make your intent to prohibit class arbitration crystal clear.  Include…Read More

  • By: Scott Shibayama, Esq.
  • Published: November 13, 2012

Since the California Supreme Court’s Armendariz decision, arbitration agreements under California law have been bitter sweet. California small-medium businesses (SMB’s) can impose mandatory arbitration agreements on employees to arbitrate employment related disputes, but must pay for all fees and costs associated with the arbitration. Mandatory binding arbitration removes the case from a jury and requires the plaintiff employee to sue your business before a neutral arbitrator, usually an experienced former judge. This reduces the likelihood of a “runaway jury verdict” based on passion or prejudice and increases…Read More

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