Avoiding Mandatory Arbitration in Products Liability Cases

Florida Justice Association Journal

November 1, 2012

As consumer class action attorneys are painfully aware, in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 131 S.Ct. 1740 (2011), the United States Supreme Court determined that the federal government views arbitration with such favor that state courts are sometimes preempted from striking provisions of arbitration clauses that are unconscionable under state law. Since Concepcion, courts are understandably reluctant to deny motions to compel arbitration when parties to a dispute have entered into an agreement to arbitrate. But a California court recently decided in a couple of cases that arbitration agreements can be invoked by manufacturers of defective products that are not even signatories to the arbitration agreement. These cases indicate a trending defense strategy by manufacturers that plaintiffs’ attorneys should consider when filing a products liability claim.

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