Dorman, a former participant in the Schwab retirement savings and investment plan, filed a class action suit alleging the defendants violated ERISA and breached their fiduciary duties by including Schwab affiliated funds in the 401(k) plan. Defendants moved to compel arbitration under the 401(k) plan and compensation plan documents, which the district court denied. The Ninth Circuit granted Schwab’s interlocutory appeal, reversed its 1984 Amaro opinion in its published ruling, and in a separate, unpublished ruling followed the plan documents and ordered individual arbitration of Dorman’s claim.
As society becomes increasingly litigious, and as plaintiff attorneys market their services more aggressively, class action litigation is posing a rapidly growing threat to businesses in all sectors.
Lamps Plus employee, Varela, sued the company after the disclosure of the private tax information of more than 1,000 company employees. Because of an arbitration clause in his employment agreement, the company moved to send the case to arbitration. The district court sent the case to arbitration, but for the issues to be arbitrated classwide rather than individually. The United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit affirmed that ruling. The United States Supreme Court found that class arbitration is significantly different than individual arbitration.
Summary: Credit One Bank (Credit One) issued a credit card to Anderson who failed to make timely payments. The debt was charged off, then sold to a third party, and reported to the major credit reporting agencies. Thereafter, Anderson filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy and was discharged, but Credit One failed to honor Anderson’s request to correct his credit report. After the Bankruptcy Court permitted Anderson to reopen the bankruptcy proceeding, he filed a putative class action complaint against Credit One. Credit One moved to stay the proceedings and initiate arbitration, which the Bankruptcy Court refused to do “because it was a core bankruptcy proceeding that went to the heart of the ‘fresh start’ guaranty to debtors under the Bankruptcy Code.” The District Court affirmed the Bankruptcy Court as did the 2nd Circuit. The issue before each Court was how to reconcile the Federal Arbitration Act’s public policy favoring arbitration with the Bankruptcy Code’s strong public policy to ensure that discharged debtors receive a “fresh start.” That was the key issue the 2nd Circuit resolved against arbitration and in favor of a fresh start.