AT&T MOBILITY LLC v. CONCEPCION

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
09-893
Petitioner 
AT&T Mobility LLC
Respondent 
Vincent Concepcion, et ux.
Decided By 
Advocates
(for the petitioner)
(for the respondents)
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Customers brought a class action lawsuit against AT&T Mobility LLC in a California federal district court. They alleged that the company's offer of a free phone to anyone who signed up for its service was fraudulent to the extent the company charged the new subscriber sales tax on the retail value of each free phone. AT&T; moved to compel arbitration based on the arbitration clause contained within its contract of service. The district court denied the motion.

On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that (1) the arbitration clause was unconscionable and unenforceable under California law and (2) the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA") did not expressly or impliedly preempt California law governing unconcionability.

Question 

Does the FAA preempt states from conditioning the enforcement of an arbitration agreement on the availability of class-wide arbitration procedures?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for AT&T, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Federal Arbitration Act

Yes. The Supreme Court reversed the lower court order in a decision by Justice Antonin Scalia. The 5-4 majority held that the Federal Arbitration Act preempts "state-law rules that stand as an obstacle to the accomplishment of the FAA's objectives." Justice Stephen Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. "The Court is wrong to hold that the federal Act pre-empts the rule of state law," wrote Breyer.

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AT&T MOBILITY LLC v. CONCEPCION . The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 13 April 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2010/2010_09_893>.
AT&T MOBILITY LLC v. CONCEPCION , The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2010/2010_09_893 (last visited April 13, 2014).
"AT&T MOBILITY LLC v. CONCEPCION ," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed April 13, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2010/2010_09_893.