October 1, 2022

Volume XII, Number 274

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California Supreme Court to Address Viking River Cruises

Employment practitioners will be waiting with bated breath now that the California Supreme Court has granted the defendant’s petition for review in Uber Technologies, Inc. v. Adolph, S274671.  This is the second PAGA case California’s top court will review since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Viking River Cruises v. Moriana, which held that the Federal Arbitration Act requires courts to enforce parties’ arbitration agreements and preempts conflicting state laws that invalidate contractual waivers of the right to assert representative claims under PAGA.  See our prior coverage of Viking River Cruises here.

In 2019, Plaintiff Erik Adolph filed a class action complaint against Uber in Orange County Superior Court claiming he and other drivers were misclassified as independent contractors. Uber sought to enforce its arbitration agreement with Adolph, but the court rejected Uber’s attempt to arbitrate whether Adolph was properly classified as an independent contractor and stay the PAGA claim. 

On appeal, the court found the arbitration agreement to be unenforceable, because it required Adolph to waive his representative claims.  It also held that a court, not an arbitrator, should decide whether the plaintiff is an employee or an independent contractor, which would determine Adolph’s standing to bring a PAGA representative action.

Uber subsequently filed its petition for review on May 20, 2022, and although Uber’s appeals and petition for review predated Viking River Cruises, the California Supreme Court granted Uber leave to file a supplemental five-page brief to address it.  Ultimately, the court unanimously granted the petition on July 20, 2022, potentially signaling the court’s keenness to respond to Viking River Cruises.  Stay tuned for the decision in light of Justice Sotomayor’s Viking River Cruise possible roadmap for California’s high court.

© 2022 Vedder PriceNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 211
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About this Author

 Nicole J. Wing Vedder Price Shareholder Bank Litigation Complex Commercial Litigation Construction Corporate Liability Financial Institutions Franchise/Distributor/Dealer Litigation Intellectual Property Litigation Product Liability & Mass Tort Restrictive Covenants & Trade Secrets
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Nicole J. Wing, an attorney in Vedder Price’s Litigation practice area, represents clients in the construction and manufacturing industries in a wide array of complex matters.

Ms. Wing’s practice includes counseling clients as to litigation avoidance in contract negotiations and project delivery, conducting contract negotiations and handling all manner of disputes. Ms. Wing practices nationwide in various state and federal courts as well as before arbitration tribunals.

In the construction industry, Ms. Wing represents developers, design professionals, construction managers,...

312-609-7914
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Sheryl (“Sherry”) Skibbe is a Shareholder at Vedder Price and a member of the Labor & Employment group in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Ms. Skibbe is an experienced litigator with strong record of success representing global clients in the defense of complex class, collective, and representative actions and high-risk lawsuits. These cases include claims alleging misclassification of employees as exempt or as independent contractors; "off the clock" work including alleged unpaid training time, security checks, and regular rate violations;...

424-204-7799
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