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Comcast Corp. v. Tillage

The issue in this case is whether the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts California state case law holding that an individual plaintiff’s right to obtain a “public injunction” against violations of certain California consumer protection laws is unwaivable, and that an arbitration agreement cannot completely foreclose the right to seek such an injunction in some forum. The California Supreme Court announced this rule in McGill v. Citibank (2017), a case in which Public Citizen filed an amicus brief advocating that the Court adopt the rule. Thereafter, in a series of cases in federal district courts in California, defendants argued that the FAA preempts the McGill rule. In 2019, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard three cases presenting the issue, and in a published opinion called Blair v. Rent-A-Center ruled that the California Supreme Court had been correct in holding that the FAA does not require California to enforce waivers of the right to obtain a public injunction. In the other two cases, the court issued unpublished opinions following the ruling in Blair.

This case, a consumer fraud case brought by Charles Tillage and Joseph Loomis against Comcast based on Comcast’s misleading advertising regarding its fees, is one of those two cases. The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for rehearing filed by Comcast, and Comcast then filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court. Public Citizen at that point appeared as cocounsel for the plaintiffs and filed a brief in opposition. On June 1, 2020, the Supreme Court denied certiorari.