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Special Alert: California Supreme Court Invalidates Widely Used Arbitration Provisions and Curtails the Scope of Proposition 64

Buckley Sandler Special Alert

On April 6, the California Supreme Court published its opinion in McGill v. Citibank, N.A., finding unenforceable arbitration agreements that purport to waive claims for public injunctive relief brought under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), Civ. Civ. Code, § 1750 et seq., its Unfair Competition Law (UCL)(Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200), and its false advertising law (id., § 17500 et seq.). In so holding, the court resisted arguments that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts California state law, notwithstanding the United States Supreme Court’s landmark holding in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion (Concepcion). In a second significant holding, the court materially limited the effect of Proposition 64 on claims brought under the UCL, finding that actions for public injunctive relief need not satisfy California requirements for class certification. The court’s decision presents significant questions as to the validity of widely used consumer arbitration clauses, creates the prospect of considerable future litigation regarding the scope of preemption under the FAA, and narrows the effect of Proposition 64 on future litigation under the UCL.

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If you have questions about the court’s holding or other related issues, visit our Complex Civil Litigation and Class Actions practices for more information, or contact a Buckley Sandler attorney with whom you have worked in the past.