Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Arbitration Regarding FCRA Violation Claims

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled that a proposed class action challenging Stone Brewing Co.'s employment application and background check processes must be re-directed into individual arbitration.

The suit lodged by Plaintiff Jesse Dominguez claimed that the background investigation form in Stone's employment application improperly combined a background investigation disclosure and authorization into one document and failed to include required disclosures. Plaintiff brought class claims under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and analogous California consumer protection laws.

The employment application Plaintiff submitted to Stone contained an arbitration agreement that was ultimately deemed valid and binding by the judge. According to the judge, by initialing this paragraph, Plaintiff had signified that he had read and agreed to those terms.

Plaintiff argued to the contrary, stating that the agreement was invalid because his employment application was superseded by an offer letter that contained no arbitration requirement. The judge disagreed, contending that the offer letter was silent regarding arbitration and didn't override the arbitration language in the employment application. The judge also ruled that Plaintiff must arbitrate his claims on an individual basis, rather than as a class representative.

The case is Dominguez v. Stone Brewing Co., 2020 BL 248429 (S.D. Cal., No. 3:20-cv-00251).

Posted: July 16, 2020

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