Yamaha Worker’s PAGA Claim Headed to Arbitration, Panel Rules

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Yamaha Employee's Arbitration Order Reversed

California Court Reverses Decision, Compelling Individual Arbitration

In a dramatic turn of events, a California state appellate court overturned a trial court’s ruling on Thursday regarding a proposed class action against Yamaha Motor Corp. The case revolves around accusations of wage withholding, with recent legal precedents dictating the fate of the plaintiff’s individual Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claim.

Yamaha Worker Must Arbitrate PAGA Claim: Compelling Arbitration: A Legal Twirl

The three-judge panel, in a unanimous and unpublished opinion, reversed the trial court’s decision, compelling Jessica Piran, the former employee, to arbitrate her individual PAGA claim against Yamaha. This ruling comes as a consequence of recent developments in California’s high court, emphasizing the arbitration of such claims.

However, the panel clarified that while individual claims are subject to arbitration, non-individualized PAGA claims can still proceed in court. PAGA empowers workers to litigate labor law violations on behalf of themselves and others, including the state.

Legal Precedents Clash: Iskanian vs. Viking River

The panel noted a critical error in the trial court’s judgment, citing the conflict between two pivotal legal decisions. While the California Supreme Court’s Iskanian ruling previously barred PAGA waivers in arbitration agreements, the landscape shifted with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 Viking River decision. Viking River asserted the supremacy of the Federal Arbitration Act, allowing individual PAGA claims to be arbitrated.