Leslie A. Bailey litigates complex public interest appeals on behalf of consumers who have been cheated and advocates for the public’s right of access to court records. She has extensive experience in, and is often consulted about, the enforceability of arbitration clauses in consumer contracts, and most recently argued and won Sgouros v. TransUnion Corp., in which the Seventh Circuit struck down the arbitration agreement of one of the largest corporations in the country on contract formation grounds. She also argued and won FIA Card Services v. Weaver, a landmark decision in which the Louisiana Supreme Court held that a debt collector cannot enforce an arbitration award against a consumer without proving the consumer agreed to arbitration.
She has also successfully opposed certiorari in several cases, most recently TAMKO v. Hobbs, in which the Missouri Court of Appeals held that consumers did not agree to arbitration merely by keeping a product, where the corporation failed to provide any evidence that it had given the consumers reasonable notice that they’d lose their right to go to court if they kept the product; and Beverly Enterprises v. Cyr, in which the Eleventh Circuit held that where an arbitration clause provides for arbitration “exclusively” before a forum that has been barred from conducting consumer arbitrations, the Federal Arbitration Act does not require a court to override the parties’ intent and designate a substitute forum.
Leslie is currently co-lead counsel in two putative class actions against internet payday lenders: Gilstrap v. Paycheck Today (New Mexico district court), and Rosas v. AMG Services, Inc. (California Court of Appeal). In both cases, defendant AMG Services is claiming that its affiliation with a Native American tribe entitles it to share in the tribe’s immunity from state law. The “tribal immunity” defense is an increasingly popular defense strategy among payday lenders seeking ways to continue charging exorbitant interest on short-term consumer loans while evading state consumer protection laws.
As the head of Public Justice’s Court Secrecy Project, Leslie has testified before subcommittees of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives about how secret settlements and sealed court records threaten public health and safety, and has intervened into litigation to successfully block attempts by major corporations to hide evidence of wrongdoing through secrecy orders.
Leslie is co-counsel with Jennifer Bennett in Chrysler Group v. The Center for Auto Safety, in which the Ninth Circuit ruled that documents containing information bearing on the safety of millions of Chrysler vehicles must be unsealed unless the company can demonstrate that compelling reasons for secrecy outweigh the public’s presumptive right of access to court records. Chrysler’s petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied, but the district court refused to unseal almost all the documents, so we are now appealing to the Ninth Circuit a second time.
Leslie serves as co-chair of the National Association of Consumer Advocates Board of Directors.
U.S. Supreme Court
California Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
J.D. cum laude, New York University School of Law, 2004
B.A. cum laude, Claremont McKenna College, 1991