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Marenco v. DirecTV LLC.

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Fourth Division

February 5, 2015

FRANCISCO MARENCO, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
DIRECTV LLC., Defendant and Respondent.

APPEAL from a judgment (order) of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. BC434357, Alan S. Rosenfield, Judge.

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COUNSEL

Karasik Law Firm and Gregory N. Karasik for Plaintiff and Appellant.

O’Melveny & Myers, Apalla U. Chopra, Beata L. Ng, and Adam Karr for Defendant and Respondent.

OPINION

EPSTEIN, P. J.

In this putative class action, plaintiff Francisco Marenco contends that defendant DirecTV LLC violated state wage and unfair competition laws. (Lab. Code, § 212; Bus. & Prof. Code, § 17200 (UCL).) DirecTV moved to compel arbitration as the successor to an arbitration agreement between Marenco and his previous employer, 180 Connect, Inc., which was acquired by DirecTV. The trial court granted the motion over Marenco’s objections that DirecTV is not a signatory to the agreement, and that the agreement’s class action waiver is unconscionable under state law.

In this appeal from the judgment (order) staying the class claims and compelling arbitration of the individual claims, we conclude that DirecTV has standing to enforce the agreement, that the agreement’s class action waiver is enforceable under AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (2011) 563 U.S. ___ [179 L.Ed.2d 742, 131 S.Ct. 1740] (Concepcion), and that the California Supreme Court’s recent decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles LLC (2014) 59 Cal.4th 348 [173 Cal.Rptr.3d 289, 327 P.3d 129] (Iskanian), which was issued while this appeal was pending, is controlling.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Before it was acquired by DirecTV, 180 Connect entered into an employment arbitration agreement with Marenco. The agreement required both

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parties to submit all claims arising from and related to the employment relationship to binding arbitration.[1] The agreement prohibited filing a class or collective action, or a representative or private attorney general action[2] on behalf of a class of persons or the general public.

After acquiring 180 Connect, DirecTV retained 180 Connect’s employees, including Marenco. Marenco continued working for DirecTV until February 2010.

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In 2012, Marenco filed the present action against DirecTV. In the operative pleading, the first amended complaint, he alleged that DirecTV had issued “ADP TotalPay debit cards” (debit cards) in payment of wages to the putative class of employee plaintiffs. Plaintiffs who used their debit cards to withdraw cash at ATM machines were required to pay an activation fee of either $.50 or $3.50, and a cash withdrawal fee. These fees resulted in DirecTV’s failure to pay plaintiffs’ full wages in violation of the UCL and Labor Code section 212-which requires that instruments issued for payment of wages must be negotiable and payable in cash, on demand, and without discount. The complaint, which did not ...


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