Posted September 6th, 2017.
In a twist, Plaintiffs Seek and Defendant Opposes Arbitration in case Alleging Oracle’s Debt Servitude and Forced Labor
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September 6, 2017, SAN FRANCISCO – Attorneys at Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP today filed a petition in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to compel Oracle America, Inc., (“Oracle”) to proceed with arbitration on all wage claims against the company.
Attorneys for lead plaintiff, Marcella Johnson, and the proposed class of other sales representatives who were shorted on commission wages are David Sanford, Chairman and co-founder of Sanford Heisler Sharp, Michael Palmer and Andrew Melzer co-chairs of the firm’s wage and hour practice, associate Danielle Fuschetti and Xinying Valerian, founder of Valerian Law in Oakland, CA.
“Oracle has violated California wage and hour laws by retroactively changing commission plans,” said Sanford. “Although Oracle forced a mandatory arbitration agreement on Ms. Johnson – giving her zero say in the matter – it has flatly refused to participate in arbitration and has actively obstructed the arbitration process.”
The Petition asserts Oracle has refused to pay its share of the arbitration fee or participate in the selection of an arbitrator.
Johnson filed her original lawsuit as a class action in mid-February in the same federal court, after which Oracle produced her signed mandatory arbitration agreement. Although she subsequently dismissed the federal suit and filed an arbitration demand with JAMS-San Francisco, as required by the arbitration agreement, the company contends its relationship with Johnson is governed by a second arbitration agreement that prohibits class arbitration.
“Oracle has no legal basis for stonewalling the arbitration process,” said Palmer. “Pursuant to the mandatory arbitration agreement, Ms. Johnson filed this employment dispute with JAMS. There is no question that this dispute should now be arbitrated, including the issue of whether class-based arbitration procedures are available.”
The Sanford Heisler Sharp team argues class action arbitration procedures are available under both versions of Oracle’s arbitration agreement, because the Ninth Circuit’s 2016 ruling in Morris v. Ernst & Young makes the class action ban in the company’s second arbitration agreement void and unenforceable.
“Oracle is unnecessarily delaying arbitration and bogging down the court system and arbitral forum with its inaction, hoping Morris will be overturned,” said Melzer. “This behavior is unfair to our courageous lead plaintiff, Ms. Johnson, and to other members of the class, who have been suffering from Oracle’s compensation policies.
About Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP
Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP is a public interest class-action litigation law firm with offices in New York, Washington, D.C, Nashville, San Francisco and San Diego. Our attorneys have graduated from the nation’s top law schools, clerked for judges throughout the United States, and amassed extensive experience litigating cases that have earned over one billion dollars for our clients.
The Firm specializes in civil rights and general public interest cases, representing plaintiffs with employment discrimination, labor and wage violations, predatory lending, whistleblower, consumer fraud, and other claims. Along with a focus on class actions, the firm also represents individuals and has achieved particular success in the representation of executives and attorneys in employment disputes. For more information go to www.sanfordheisler.com or call 202 499-5200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For the latest news visit our newsroom or follow us on Twitter at @sanfordheisler