Not a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.

Rent-A-Center, W., Inc. v. Jackson

Supreme Court of the United States

April 26, 2010, Argued; June 21, 2010, Decided

No. 09-497

Opinion

 [*65]  [**2775]  Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court.

We consider whether, under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA or Act), 9 U.S.C. §§ 1-16, a district court may decide a claim that an arbitration agreement is unconscionable, where the agreement explicitly assigns that decision to the arbitrator.

On February 1, 2007, the respondent here, Antonio Jackson, filed an  [***409] employment-discrimination suit under Rev. Stat. § 1977, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, against his former employer in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. The defendant and petitioner here, Rent-A-Center, West, Inc., filed a motion under the FAA to dismiss or stay the proceedings, 9 U.S.C. § 3, and to compel arbitration, § 4. Rent-A-Center argued that the Mutual Agreement to Arbitrate Claims (Agreement), which Jackson signed on February 24, 2003, as a condition of his  [****5] employment there, precluded Jackson from pursuing his claims in court. The Agreement provided for arbitration of all “past, present or future” disputes arising out of Jackson's employment with Rent-A-Center, including “claims for discrimination” and  [*66]  “claims for violation of any federal . . . law.” App. 29-30. It also provided that “[t]he Arbitrator, and not any federal, state, or local court or agency, shall have exclusive authority to resolve any dispute relating to the interpretation, applicability, enforceability or formation of this Agreement including, but not limited to any claim that all or any part of this Agreement is void or voidable.” Id., at 34.

Jackson opposed the motion on the ground that “the arbitration agreement in question is clearly unenforceable in that it is unconscionable” under Nevada law. Id., at 40. Rent-A-Center responded that Jackson's unconscionability claim was not properly before the court because Jackson had expressly agreed that the arbitrator would have exclusive authority to resolve any dispute about the enforceability of the Agreement. It also disputed the merits of Jackson's unconscionability claims.

Read The Full CaseNot a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.

Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.

561 U.S. 63 *; 130 S. Ct. 2772 **; 177 L. Ed. 2d 403 ***; 2010 U.S. LEXIS 4981 ****; 78 U.S.L.W. 4643; 109 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 897; 93 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P43,916; 22 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 518

RENT-A-CENTER, WEST, INC., Petitioner v. ANTONIO JACKSON

Prior History:  [****1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.

Jackson v. Rent-A-Center West, Inc., 581 F.3d 912, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 20133 (9th Cir. Nev., 2009)

Disposition: Reversed.

CORE TERMS

arbitration, arbitration agreement, unconscionable, delegation, parties, agreement to arbitrate, unmistakable, challenges, questions, gateway, invalid, cases, arbitration clause, revocation, grounds, assent, merits, terms, district court, inducement, provisions, arbitration provision, federal court, contracts, disputes, matters, validity of an agreement, agreed to arbitrate, exclusive authority, entire agreement

Business & Corporate Compliance, Arbitration, Federal Arbitration Act, Arbitration Agreements, Contracts Law, Defenses, Unconscionability, Affirmative Defenses, Coercion & Duress, General Overview, Fraud & Misrepresentation, Orders to Compel Arbitration, Stay Pending Arbitration, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Arbitrability