Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Sonic-Calabassas-A, Inc. v. Moreno (Cal. Supreme Ct. - Feb. 24, 2011)

You get more 5-4 decisions in the United States Supreme Court than 4-3 decisions in the California Supreme Court.  Here's a classic example of the latter.

It's about "Berman" hearings; basically, wage claims by an employee in front of the Labor Commissioner.  There are lots of advantages of such hearings.  At least for the employee.  So the question is whether you can waive those rights as part of an arbitration agreement, or whether such a waiver is instead against public policy.

The Court holds in favor of the employee, concluding that they're invalid.  Given that holding, you can guess who are the 4 and who are the 3.  The latter being Justices Chin, Baxter and Corrigan.

The majority opinion is authored by Justice Moreno.  Likely his last 4-3 opinion, and perhaps one of his last opinions ever.

Holding in favor of -- fittingly enough -- a guy named Moreno.