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Florida Supreme Court rejects trial bar efforts to invalidate agreements to arbitrate disputes on a bilateral basis

April 11, 2013

Relying on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, the Florida Supreme Court rejected the plaintiffs' argument that an arbitration agreement including a class waiver is unenforceable under Florida law. Instead, the Court held that Florida law was irrelevant because any such state law rule would be invalid under Concepcion. The Court rejected a number of arguments routinely made by the plaintiffs bar to circumvent the Federal Arbitration Act and the U.S. Supreme Court's Concepcion decision.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

July 01, 2011

The U.S. Chamber urged the Florida Supreme Court to hold that a state may not declare arbitration agreements to be unenforceable merely because they preclude class treatment of claims. In this case, the lower court - relying chiefly on testimony by plaintiffs’ lawyers who said that they would not handle the types of individual claims brought by the plaintiffs - improperly concluded that “[t]he inability to bring a class action suit against [the defendants] would eviscerate the remedial purposes of the relied-upon [consumer protection] statutes” and thus would violate Florida public policy.

The Chamber argued in its amicus brief that the plaintiffs' self-serving legal theory would allow all Florida plaintiffs to evade their arbitration agreements by an easy maneuver: All their lawyers would need to do is recruit trial-bar colleagues to offer self-serving testimony asserting that class actions are indispensable. If arbitration agreements could be avoided by that simple ruse, such a rule of Florida law would be as “toothless and malleable” as an anti-arbitration California rule that the Supreme Court struck down in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion. The Chamber also urged the Florida Supreme Court to find that arbitration agreements do not violate Florida's public policy because they allow a fair and efficient resolution of consumer disputes.

The law firm Mayer Brown LLP served as the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center's co-counsel for the Chamber's amicus brief.

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