Coneff v. AT&T Corp. (Ninth Circuit)
The plaintiffs in this case brought several putative nationwide class actions alleging that, after acquiring their wireless carrier, AT&T Mobility degraded their service in order to force them to switch to its network. The defendants moved to compel the plaintiffs to arbitrate their claims on an individual basis as required by the arbitration provisions in their wireless agreements. The district court held that the arbitration provisions were unenforceable under Washington law because they require that arbitration take place on an individual basis. After the Supreme Court held in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion that under the FAA courts may not refuse to enforce arbitration agreements on this basis, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s decision. This decision was among the first to reject the argument that Concepcion is inapplicable if the plaintiffs persuade the trial court that they are unable to “vindicate” federal statutory rights without a class action.