A significant change may be on the horizon for California’s Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA). On December 15, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court granted review of a case titled Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana (2020). Viking River is a 2020 California Court of Appeal decision reaffirming California’s long-standing ruling (Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC) that an arbitration agreement cannot include an enforceable waiver of an employee’s right to bring a representative action under California’s Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA)i A reversal or alteration in Iskanian’s basic tenants could offer broadened avenues for employers seeking to contain all employee disputes within the arbitration forum.
The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly declined review of the Iskanian decision which has allowed California’s PAGA litigation to remain within the civil court system. However, this recent review decision may signal a change at the highest levels. No schedule has yet been announced for oral arguments in Viking River, but it is likely the Court will hear the matter within its 2022 Court term.
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