Volume 35:1 (Summer 2011)

Alternative Dispute Resolution—Has the Supreme Court Significantly Expanded the Enforceability of Arbitration Agreements and Class-Action Waivers?— AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011)


Heather N. Retchless


Introduction: When parties contract to arbitrate, the Supreme Court has consistently recognized that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) establishes a national policy in favor of dispute resolution. In the event that a state law outright prohibits the arbitration of a certain type of claim, the FAA supersedes the conflicting rule. In AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, the Supreme Court determined the FAA preempted a California law, known as the Discover Bank rule, deeming most mandatory consumer arbitration agreements that include class-action waivers unenforceable. In effect, the Supreme Court’s decision significantly expanded the enforceability of arbitration agreements and class-action waivers.