Hopkins v. BCI Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Los Angeles (Ninth Circuit)

This case—like its companion cases, Sakkab v. Luxottica Retail North America, Inc. and Sierra v. Oakley Sales Corp.—was brought by a private plaintiff who agreed to resolve any disputes with his or her employer through arbitration on an individual basis. Despite those agreements, the plaintiff later sought to sue in court to obtain monetary recovery from his employer for alleged wage-and-hour violations against a putative class of employees who likewise agreed to resolve any disputes with the employer through individual arbitration. The plaintiff argued that his claims under California’s Private Attorney General Act of 2004 (PAGA), which purports to allow private plaintiffs to bring actions on behalf of the state, are exempt from arbitration and may proceed in court notwithstanding the arbitration agreements. On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we filed amicus briefs in each case arguing that the Federal Arbitration Act requires the plaintiffs’ arbitration agreements to be enforced. The FAA forbids states from declaring private claims off-limits to arbitration, and California cannot circumvent the FAA and authorize private plaintiffs to avoid their arbitration agreements simply by labeling the plaintiffs “private attorneys general.”


Amicus Brief