California Court of Appeal Rules Arbitration Agreement Unenforceable In Overtime Class Action Against Solarcity Brought By Blumenthal Nordrehaug And Bhowmik

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The California Court of Appeal upheld the lower Court's ruling that the arbitration agreement was unenforceable and sent the case back to San Diego Superior Court to continue as putative class action

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a court should construe ambiguous language against the interest of the party that drafted it, which in this case was SolarCity.

The California Court of Appeal upheld a lower Court's ruling in a class action lawsuit brought by the San Diego Employment law lawyers at Blumenthal Nordrehaug and Bhowmik alleging that Solarcity Coproration failed to pay their Field Energy Advisors overtime wages. The SolarCity overtime class action is pending in the San Diego Superior Court for the State of California, Case No. 37-2014-00023450-CU-OE-CTL, a copy of the original Complaint can be read here; The California Court of Appeal's opinion is Case No. D067582.

According to the California Court of Appeal's opinion, the lower court denied SolarCity's motion to compel arbitration ruling that the entire arbitration agreement was unenforceable. SolarCity appealed, and argued, according to the opinion, that the trial court erroneously invalidated the arbitration agreement by construing it as barring PAGA claims and finding the PAGA waiver was not severable from the rest of the agreement. The California Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court and concluded:

"the arbitration agreement included a PAGA waiver, which could not be severed from the rest of the agreement and rendered the entire agreement unenforceable." A copy of the California Court of Appeal's Opinion can be read here.

In its Opinion, the Court went on to note that "to the extent the Arbitration Agreement's language is uncertain on the point and one can glean a different outcome from the language, . . . a court should construe ambiguous language against the interest of the party that drafted it, which in this case was SolarCity."

Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik is a California and Chicago employment law firm with offices located in San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento and Chicago. The firm dedicates its practice to contingency fee employment law work for issues involving overtime pay, wrongful termination, discrimination and other labor laws. Contact an experienced employment lawyer today by calling (800) 568-8020.

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Nicholas De Blouw
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