It’s been more than two years since the Supreme Court handed down its landmark pro-arbitration ruling in Concepcion v. AT&T Mobility, but the case is still reverberating throughout the court system, as the 4th Circuit’s recent decision in Muriithi v. Shuttle Express Inc. demonstrates.
Samuel Muriithi sued his employer, Shuttle Express, for allegedly misclassifying him and other shuttle drivers as franchisees to avoid paying them minimum wage or overtime, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Maryland state wage and hour laws. Shuttle Express sought to compel arbitration pursuant to a franchise agreement that Muriithi had signed.
In Concepcion, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that AT&T subscribers could not pursue a class action against the company because their contract contained an individual arbitration agreement. Although a state law in California, where the plaintiffs filed the case, prohibits class action waivers in consumer contracts, the high court gave precedence to the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), which permits such waivers.