Originally published by Christopher McKinney.
November 22, 2019 – Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion affirming the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the trial court declining to compel arbitration of class claims under the parties’ arbitration agreement. This dispute was not an employment case but the same reasoning should apply to attempts by employers to force employment-related class claims into arbitration. Supreme Court held:
The question of whether the parties agreed to class arbitration was a question of arbitrability for the court to make and that the warranty agreement did not permit class arbitration. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) arbitratibility of class claims is a gateway issue for the court unless the arbitration agreement clearly and unmistakably expresses a contrary intent; (2) an agreement to arbitrate class claims cannot be inferred from silence or ambiguity, but rather, an express contractual basis is required; and (3) the lower courts correctly determined that Defendant was not bound to arbitrate Plaintiffs’ putative class claims.