March 23, 2015

Jenner & Block has filed a petition for certiorari for the US Supreme Court to review a New Jersey Supreme Court holding that an agreement to submit claims to binding arbitration is not enforceable unless the agreement also states that the parties may not litigate their claims in court. The firm represents US Legal Services Group, a San Francisco-based law firm that provides debt relief services to clients around the country through contracts with local attorneys.  US Legal has asked the Court to decide whether the Federal Arbitration Act “pre-empts a state-law rule holding that an arbitration agreement is unenforceable unless it affirmatively explains that the contracting party is waiving the right to sue in court.”  The Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business, the Cato Institute, and others have filed amicus briefs urging the US Supreme Court to grant the petition.  In a New Jersey Law Journal article on the case (subscription required), Partner Matthew S. Hellman is quoted as saying that “we think this is an important case because the New Jersey Supreme Court has imposed barriers to enforcing arbitration agreements that the federal law and the federal courts do not allow.”  In addition to Mr. Hellman, the team includes Partner Adam G. Unikowsky, Associates Erica Ross and David A. Wishnick, Senior Paralegal Cheryl L. Olson and Legal Secretary Coordinator Beth E. Gulden.