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Davis v. Nordstrom, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

June 23, 2014

FAINE DAVIS, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
NORDSTROM, INC., Defendant-Appellant

Argued and Submitted, Pasadena, California December 6, 2013.

Page 1090

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. D.C. No. 4:11-cv-03956-CW. Claudia Wilken, Chief District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[**]

Arbitration / California Law

The panel reversed the district court's order denying Nordstrom, Inc.'s motion to compel arbitration of an employee's claims that were brought as a putative class action alleging violations of state and federal employment laws, and remanded for further proceedings.

Following the United States Supreme Court's decision in AT& T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 131 S.Ct. 1740, 179 L.Ed.2d 742 (2011), Nordstrom made revisions to the employee arbitration policy, contained in its employee handbook, which precluded employees from bringing most class action lawsuits.

The panel held that Nordstrom and the employee entered into a valid agreement to arbitrate disputes on an individual basis. The panel found that Nordstrom satisfied the minimal requirements under California law for providing employees with reasonable notice of a change to its employee handbook by sending a letter to the employees informing them of the modification, and not seeking to enforce the arbitration provision during the 30 day notice period. The panel also held that Nordstrom was not bound to inform the employee that her continued employment after receiving the letter constituted acceptance on new terms of employment. Finally, the panel declined to address in the first instance the issue whether the arbitration agreement was unconscionable under California law.

George S. Howard, Jr. (argued), Jones Day, San Diego, California; Julie A. Dunne and Dominic J. Messiha, Littler Mendelson, P.C., Los Angeles, California; Michael G. Leggieri, Littler Mendelson, P.C., Sacramento, California, for Defendant-Appellant.

Courtland W. Creekmore (argued), Matthew R. Bainer, and Hannah R. Salassi, Scott Cole & Associates, APC, Oakland, California, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Before: John T. Noonan and Paul J. Watford, Circuit Judges, and William E. Smith, Chief District Judge.[*]

OPINION

Page 1091

SMITH, Chief District Judge:

Following the United States Supreme Court's decision in AT& T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 131 S.Ct. 1740, 179 L.Ed.2d 742 (2011),[1] Appellant Nordstrom, Inc. (" Nordstrom" ) made revisions to the employee arbitration policy[2] contained in its employee handbook. These changes precluded employees from bringing most class action lawsuits. Despite these changes, weeks later, Nordstrom employee Faine Davis filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of herself and ...


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