This week, a federal court in Orange County issued an order requiring CoreLogic, a real estate appraisal company, to pay over $86,000 in sanctions for “willfully and unreasonably disobey[ing]” court orders regarding arbitration.
Bryan Schwartz Law, along with co-counsel Nichols Kaster, LLP, filed a class and collective action case against CoreLogic at the end of 2017. The plaintiffs in Mitchell v. CoreLogic, Inc. et al., Case No. 8:17-cv-02274-DOC-DFM (C.D.Cal.) – real estate appraisers for defendant CoreLogic – alleged a variety of violations of state and federal wage and hours laws, including failure to pay overtime, failure to provide adequate meal and rest breaks, and failure to pay premiums for missed breaks.
In February 2019, CoreLogic successfully moved to compel many of the plaintiffs to arbitration, but then balked when approximately 160 of the plaintiffs filed arbitrations and CoreLogic was suddenly faced with the accompanying bills. CoreLogic twice sought relief from U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter, and twice the judge denied its request.
In its first effort to avoid the very arbitration it moved to compel, CoreLogic raised a variety of administrative issues, which the court rejected. In his order on May 28, 2019, Judge Carter stated:
“CoreLogic moved this Court to order Plaintiffs to arbitrate their claims. As CoreLogic previously argued, issues of arbitrability or the implication of statutes of limitation must be resolved by the arbitrator . . . CoreLogic asked for resolution of any and all disputes by the arbitrator. Having compelled arbitration, the Court will not now stay those proceedings due to associated costs.”
Undeterred, CoreLogic tried again to get out of the arbitrations by arguing that certain “threshold issues” had to be resolved before it proceeded with certain arbitrations. In a December 17, 2019 order, Judge Carter stated:
“The Court is very concerned about (and will no longer tolerate) more foot dragging on this issue. The Court ORDERS the parties to refile these cases with the [American Arbitration Association] and participate in the arbitration proceedings.”
In a follow up order on January 9, 2020, Judge Carter ordered CoreLogic to pay $18,482.49 in sanctions to Bryan Schwartz Law and $67,482.49 to Nichols Kaster for the attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in complying with the court’s prior orders to arbitrate.
CoreLogic’s tactics are part of a growing trend of companies that, upon forcing arbitration, balk when they have to pay up. Thankfully, the court’s sanctions order here is also part of a growing trend of courts calling companies’ bluff.
The issue of arbitration is an evolving one in CA. Bryan Schwartz Law is committed to holding companies accountable when they force their employees to arbitrate rather than allow their employees to have their day in court. The sanctions order is yet another victory in holding corporate America accountable.
If you have been forced to arbitrate your claims but your employer is not cooperating, contact Bryan Schwartz Law today.