Last month, the 1st District Court of Appeal enforced a consumer arbitration clause with a class action ban, finding that it was neither "unduly one-sided" nor "in violation of public policy" to permit a classwide arbitration ban in a published opinion in Parrish v. Cingular Wireless, LLC. The case concerned early termination fees charged to wireless telephone customers. The ruling means that all but the public policy UCL injunctive relief claims would be ordered to arbitration, and would be arbitrated as an individual claim. In so ruling, the court declined to follow Szetela v. Discover Bank (2002) 97 Cal.App.4th 1094, perhaps in anticipation of a pro-business ruling in Discover Bank v. Superior Court.
If so, the First District anticipated incorrectly. Now that the Supreme Court has confirmed, in its opinion in Discover Bank v. Superior Court, that public policy in California generally does bar enforcement of agreements to waive class action claims in a consumer contract, Parrish will likely be reversed or depublished.
We haven't seen the papers yet, but the online docket for Parrish (case no. A105518) shows that a rehearing petition was denied just ten days before the Discover Bank opinion was issued, leaving the plaintiff with no choice but to file a petition for review with the Supreme Court. That petition was filed on Wednesday. It will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court deals with the case. At a minimum, it would appear that Parrish will be depublished, since its holding is clearly overruled by Discover Bank.