Philadelphia and Princeton partner Tom Barton was quoted in Law360 in an article titled, “Oxford Appeal May Doom Class Arbitration for Workers.”
The article discussed the case of Oxford Health Plans LLC v. John Ivan Sutter MD, which the Third Circuit ruled on in April 2012. The Supreme Court has since granted certiorari and will hear the case.
The Third Circuit ruled that an arbitrator can send parties to class arbitration even if their contracts don't explicitly authorize it, and upheld a ruling that forced Oxford to arbitrate on a class basis with as many as 20,000 physicians who accused the insurer of improperly administering reimbursement of claims. Employment lawyers are watching the case closely because of its potential impact on companies' power to use arbitration agreements to bar costly class and collective action lawsuits from workers.
Tom, co-chair of the firm's Labor & Employment Practice Group, said that the high court's decision to take the case is a positive development for employers.
“I think it is a good sign that the Supreme Court has granted cert because the case seems at odds with some other cases that favored class waivers in arbitration,” he said.
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