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Mondragon v. Sunrun Inc. (CA2/7 B328425 4/23/24) PAGA | Arbitration

By April 23, 2024June 30th, 2024Uncategorized

Sunrun Inc. required its employee, Angel Mondragon, to sign an arbitration agreement, which he did.  The agreement covered most disputes relating to Mondragon’s employment, but it excluded claims brought “as a representative of the state of California as a private attorney general under” the Private Attorney General Act of 2004 (PAGA; Lab. Code, § 2698 et seq.).  After his employment ended, Mondragon filed a complaint asserting several causes of action under PAGA.  Sunrun filed a motion to compel arbitration of Mondragon’s claims, which the trial court denied.

Sunrun appeals from the order denying the motion to compel arbitration, arguing that, because the parties delegated arbitrability decisions to the arbitrator, the trial court erred in ruling on whether Mondragon’s claims were arbitrable.  Sunrun also argues that, if the parties did not delegate arbitrability decisions to the arbitrator, the trial court erred in denying the motion because the arbitration agreement excluded only PAGA claims based on violations involving other employees, not Mondragon’s “individual” PAGA claims.  We conclude that, by signing an arbitration agreement that (1) merely referred to the rules of the American Arbitration Association; (2) included a carve-out that arguably covered the dispute; and (3) included a severability clause stating a court may not enforce certain provisions, Mondragon, an unsophisticated party, did not delegate arbitrability decisions to the arbitrator.  We also conclude the language of the arbitration agreement did not require Mondragon to arbitrate his individual PAGA claims.  Therefore, we affirm.