Wan Hai Lines v. Elite Logistics Corp.
In this case, a panel of the California Court of Appeal held that an arbitration agreement that, among other things, imposed a 30-day limit on a party’s ability to bring a claim for which the statute of limitations under state law was four years, was unconscionable. The defendant sought review in the Supreme Court of the United States, arguing that California unconscionability law is preempted as applied to arbitration agreements by the Federal Arbitration Act. Public Citizen came into the case as cocounsel for the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court to file a brief in opposition. The opposition argued that the case does not merit review because there is no relevant disagreement among any lower courts, which are in agreement that this particular arbitration agreement is unconscionable and that California unconscionability principles are not preempted; that the decision of the lower court was correct; and that the case would not be suitable for review by the Supreme Court for other reasons. The petition was denied.