Chicago Partner Rusty Perdew, Co-Chair of Locke Lord’s Consumer Products, Retail & Franchise Industry Group and a member of the Firm’s Class Actions Practice Group, described how the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Lamps Plus v. Varela strengthened businesses’ protections against employees bringing class-action claims. He examined the court’s application of its 2010 ruling in Stolt-Nielsen to this case, in which the arbitration agreement between Lamps Plus and its employees was vague about permitting class arbitrations.
“If Stolt-Nielsen imposed the bar that silence is not enough [to authorize class arbitration], Lamps Plus raises the bar to say ambiguity is not enough,” Perdew said. “It’s fair to say that this is going to sharply limit the availability of class arbitration and I think it will also sharply limit attempts to argue that agreements provide for class arbitration.”
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