Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, 59 Cal. 4th 348 (2014) held that PAGA representative claims for civil penalties are not subject to arbitration. In Esparza v. KS Industries, L.P. (August 2, 2017), the Court of Appeal (Fifth Appellate District) tackled the question of whether any claims asserted under PAGA can be "individual" claims, and, if so, how are they treated for purposes of arbitration agreements. The issue arose, in particular, because it appeared that the plaintiff asserted, within the PAGA claim, a claim to recover wages under Labor Code section 558, which, unlike the other PAGA penalties (in the sense of the word meaning something akin to a fine) sought, would result in the recovery of the underlying wages owed, with no portion going to the State from the recovered wages. The Court directed the plaintiff on remand to declare unequivocally whether only penalties would be sought or whether, in addition, individual recovery claims would be pursued. The Court concluded that such individual recovery claims would be severed and arbitrated.
Don't see the Fifth Appellate District having to wade into these issues regularly, so hat tip to that District for getting into the PAGA mix.
The trial court was technically affirmed, but the holding and directions on remand make this one a win for defendant/respondent, who was represented by Call & Jensen, John T. Egley and Jamin S. Soderstrom.