BREAKING: Supreme Court Reverses California Court of Appeal in Viking River Cruises v. Moriana
On June 15, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision on Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana (Case No. 20-1573) reversing the California Court of Appeal’s decision to affirm the denial of Viking’s motion to compel arbitration Moriana’s “individual” PAGA claim and to dismiss her other PAGA claims.
As previously reported, the question presented in Viking River Cruises involved whether the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) preempts the California Supreme Court’s decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, 58 Cal.4th 380 (2014), which invalidates contractual waivers of representative claims under California’s Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”).
In a majority opinion authored by Justice Alito, the Court held that while Iskanian’s prohibition on “wholesale waivers” of PAGA claims is not preempted by the FAA, Iskanian’s rule that PAGA actions cannot be divided into “individual” and “non-individual claims” is preempted.
Applying this holding to the parties, the Court held that Viking was entitled to enforce the parties’ arbitration agreement insofar as it mandated arbitration of Moriana’s individual PAGA claim. As for Moriana’s non-individual PAGA claims, because PAGA itself “provides no mechanism to enable a court to adjudicate non-individual PAGA claims once an individual claim has been committed to a separate proceeding,” Moriana lacks “statutory standing” under PAGA to litigate her “non-individual” claims separately in state court. Accordingly, “the correct course is to dismiss her remaining claims.”