ZB, N.A., et al. v. Superior Court (Lawson) will issue tomorrow


Another question that had divided courts will be decided tomorrow, when the California Supreme Court releases ZB, N.A., et al. v. Superior Court (Lawson). The question under review is whether a representative action under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (Lab. Code, § 2698 et seq.) seeking recovery of individualized lost wages as civil penalties under Labor Code section 558 falls within the preemptive scope of the Federal Arbitration Act. That’s the stated issue. After the supplemental issue briefing, however, I’m putting my chips on the long-shot square and betting that everyone has been wrong. My Karnak the Magnificent prediction is that the Court will say that the “wages” mentioned in Section 558 cannot be recovered under PAGA because PAGA authorizes the recovery of “penalties” where a penalty amount is stated (or a catch-all penalty where no amount is specified) but not every type of relief otherwise available to the Labor Commissioner. Remember that Section 558 also includes true penalties of $50/$100 for initial and subsequent violations. There’s my guess. GOAT or goat, we’ll see tomorrow.