December 20, 2012

Summary of December 19, 2012 conference report for civil cases

The following is our summary of the Supreme Court’s actions on petitions for review in civil cases from the Court’s conference on Wednesday, December 19, 2012. The summary includes those civil cases in which (1) review has been granted, (2) review has been denied but one or more justices has voted for review, or (3) the Court has ordered depublished an opinion of the Court of Appeal.

Review Granted

Goodridge v. KDF Automotive Group, S206153­—Review Granted & Held—December 19, 2012

Add this one to the long list of arbitration cases pending before the Supreme Court.

The court ordered briefing deferred pending decision in Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Co. The Sanchez case raises the issue whether the Federal Arbitration Act, as interpreted in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (2011) 563 U. S. __, 131 S.Ct. 1740, preempts state law rules invalidating mandatory arbitration provisions in a consumer contract as procedurally and substantively unconscionable. The Goodridge Court of Appeal refused to enforce an arbitration agreement that it found to be unconscionable and it held that the state law of unconscionability it applied was not preempted by federal law.

The Court of Appeal can’t be surprised by this grant-and-hold order — it stated in its opinion that “the circumstances . . . and issues in this case are virtually identical to those in Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Co.” and that “[t]he California Supreme Court will likely make the ultimate determination of the issues discussed in this case.”

The Sanchez case might be argued sooner than later. In April, the court granted the plaintiff’s motion for calendar preference and it looks like the parties made their final filings — responses to amicus curiae briefs — last month.

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)

None.

Depublished

None.

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