ERIC BOYAJIAN DEFEATS A MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION IN A SIGNIFICANT WIN FOR EMPLOYEES IN A CLASS ACTION
Eric A. Boyajian, managing partner of the Law Offices of Eric A. Boyajian (“LOEAB Law”), an employment law firm based in Glendale, California, has defeated a motion to compel arbitration in one of the firm’s wage and hour class action cases. The complaint in the case of David Evenskaas, et al. v. California Transit, Inc., et al. (20STCV19436) ), was filed on July 23, 2020 and alleges the following claims against the Defendants: (1) meal period violations; (2) rest period violations; (3) minimum wage violations; (3) unpaid overtime; (4) waiting time penalties; and (5) unfair business practices.
The defendants filed a motion to compel arbitration of the plaintiffs’ individual claims and dismissal of class claims pursuant to an arbitration agreement executed by the plaintiff.
In a major win for the employees, the court denied the motion, finding that the arbitration agreement was not enforceable. The court held that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) does not apply because (a) Defendants were unable to show that the underlying transaction involved interstate commerce, and (b) the agreement did not include a term that the FAA would apply, but instead that CA law would apply. Because the FAA did not apply, the FAA did not preempt California law. Thus, the court applied the Gentry factors and determined that the class waiver was invalid (Gentry v. Super. Ct. (2007) 42 Cal.4th 443). The court also determined that California Labor Code section 229 was not preempted, which states that “[a]ctions to enforce the provisions of this article for the collection of due and unpaid wages claimed by an individual may be maintained without regard to the existence of any private agreement to arbitrate.”
Eric A. Boyajian commented, “In wage and hour cases like this one, the amount owed to each employee is so small that it usually doesn’t justify litigation unless it can be done through a class action. So, this is an important win, but Defendants just filed a Notice of Appeal, so let’s see what the Court of Appeal decides.”
For more information on Mr. Boyajian’s practice, please visit www.LOEAB.com
Kristen Marquis Dennis