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Brown v. Ralphs

In this case, an intermediate California appellate court ruled that an arbitration agreement purporting to prohibit employees from asserting claims under California’s Private Attorneys General Act was unenforceable. The defendant, Ralphs Grocery Company, which was accused in the lawsuit of committing numerous violations of California labor laws, filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the Supreme Court to hold that even arbitration agreements that prohibit particular types of claims (as opposed to merely requiring that they be arbitrated) must be enforced under the Federal Arbitration Act to override state laws. Public Citizen Litigation Group assisted in the preparation of a brief in opposition to the petition, arguing that the Supreme Court lacked jurisdiction because there is no final judgment below, that the case did not merit review because of the absence of conflicting authority in the lower courts, and that the decision was correct in light of the Supreme Court’s repeated statements that arbitration agreements are merely forum selection provisions and do not deprive litigants of statutory rights of action. The U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari.