The Federal Arbitration Act is clear, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan wrote: “[C]ourts are not to create arbitration-specific procedural rules …. Or put conversely, it is a bar on using custom-made rules, to tilt the playing field in favor of (or against) arbitration.”
With the support of all eight of her colleagues, Justice Kagan’s opinion in Morgan v. Sundance put an end to the long-running tilt of justice toward employers in the form of judge-made rules that favor arbitration. This important holding clears the way for more workers, consumers, and other individuals harmed by corporate misconduct to pursue their rights in open court.
Karla Gilbride, Senior Attorney at Public Justice, argued the case to the high court on behalf of the plaintiff, Robyn Morgan, an hourly employee at a Taco Bell franchise owned by Sundance, Inc. It was not only Gilbride’s first Supreme Court argument, but she was the first blind attorney to do so in the court’s history.
Listen to Public Justice’s Ellen Noble — who assisted in the case — as she interviews Gilbride about her remarkable experience. This is a must listen not only for attorneys who represent workers, but for anyone interested in Supreme Court history, or the ongoing need for accommodations for the disabled, or anyone preparing for oral arguments at any level. Gilbride shares the thrill of arguing in the same spot — and directly in front of! — some of her heroes and inspirations. She also shares that, like a music fan who camps out in front of a box office to get tickets for their favorite band, a young Gilbride did just that in order to secure a seat to observe her first Supreme Court argument.
Asked for a comment, Gilbride said the Supreme Court has finally “put an end to the arbitration exceptionalism that many corporations have been seeking, and that many courts have been giving them.”
After you listen to the podcast, you can hear Gilbride’s argument and read the complete transcript of the hearing. You can also read and watch more about the case on the Public Justice Blog.
I hope you find this the episode inspiring and informative! We are all so very proud of Karla, Ellen and the whole team, and are thrilled with the important, decisive, and unanimous outcome they achieved.
Justice Pod: Conversations with Public Justice Change Makers