On June 9, 2022, Managing Partner Davida S. Perry was part of a panel of presenters on the subject of mandatory arbitration. The focus of the presentation was the Ending Forced Arbitration Act of 2022, which was signed into law by President Joseph Biden on March 3, 2022. The EFAA amends the Federal Arbitration Act and gives individuals asserting sexual harassment and sexual assault claims under federal, state or tribal law the option of bringing those claims in court, even if they signed a pre-dispute arbitration agreement.
Ms. Perry discussed her views on how courts will address situations where other types of claims are included within a sexual harassment or assault lawsuit. Since the new law refers to a case that “relates” to a sexual harassment or assault dispute, it seems likely that the court will treat a retaliation claim as “related to.” But what happens if a claim for disability discrimination is joined in a lawsuit with a claim for sexual harassment? Will the sexual harassment claim proceed to arbitration and the other claims heard in arbitration? We will have to wait to find out how courts interpret the scope of the new law as there are no clear answers. Other topics that came up during the presentation were the future of mass arbitration and statistics that have been analyzed concerning the effectiveness of arbitration versus litigation. Ms. Perry was honored to be included with her panelists on this important topic.