American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant

In American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, 133 S.Ct. 2304 (2013), the Supreme Court held that class action waivers in arbitration agreements cannot be invalidated simply because plaintiffs are unable to effectively vindicate their federal rights through individual actions. (Id. at pp. 2308-1212.) In that case, the plaintiffs showed that the cost of pursuing their antitrust claims would far exceed the maximum recovery for any individual plaintiff. (Id. at p. 2308.) The Court determined that the plaintiffs were nonetheless bound by their arbitration agreements mandating individual arbitration, because the policies underlying the federal antitrust laws and class action rules did not override the FAA's mandate that arbitration agreements be enforced according to their terms. (Id. at pp. 2309-2310.) The American Express Court noted that Concepcion "specifically rejected the argument that class arbitration was necessary to prosecute claims 'that might otherwise slip through the legal system'" (American Express, supra, 133 S.Ct. at p. 2312), and that AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (2011) "established . . . that the FAA's command to enforce arbitration agreements trumps any interest in ensuring the prosecution of low-value claims" and that "the FAA does . . . favor the absence of litigation when that is the consequence of a class action waiver" (American Express, supra, at p. 2312, fn. 5).