Defense Counsel Journal

Amicus Briefs - Volume 84, Number 4

Volume 84, No. 4

February 07, 2020

Amicus Curiae

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The International Association of Defense Counsel has an active amicus curiae program, submitting briefs on issues of importance to IADC members and their clients. Through its amicus participation, the IADC has helped shape the law surrounding product liability, arbitration, class actions, attorney client privilege, punitive damages, civil discovery, standing, jurisdiction, and tort reform. This section of the Defense Counsel Journal is dedicated to highlighting recent amicus briefs so that the Journal's readers can benefit from the insights presented therein.

In Epic Systems Corporation v. Jacob Lewis; Ernst & Young LLP and Ernst & Young U.S., LLP v. Stephen Morris and Kelly McDaniel; National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., et. al., Nos. 16-285; 16-300; 16-307 (cases consolidated for merits briefing and argument), the U.S. Supreme Court is slated to decide whether employment agreements that ban collective resolution of workplace disputes violate federal employment laws. As Bloomberg BNA has reported, the cases constitute "a major showdown between businesses and their workers and the increasing use of arbitration agreements in employment contracts."

The International Association of Defense Counsel filed a brief both in support of certiorari and on the merits in support of petitioners Epic Systems Corp. and Ernst & Young LLP, and a brief on the merits in support of respondent Murphy Oil USA, Inc.. In the merits amicus brief in these consolidated cases, reproduced here, the IADC argues that under the Federal Arbitration Act, arbitration agreements must be enforced according to their terms unless this enforcement mandate is overridden by a contrary congressional command, as set forth in CompuCredit Corp. v. Greenwood, 132 S. Ct. 665, 669 (2012).  The brief urges that the Seventh and Ninth Circuit erred by failing to assess whether the National Labor Relations Act included a contrary congressional command to bar arbitration between employers and employees, and that the Fifth Circuit correctly held that such arbitration agreements remain enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act.  

The brief was co-authored by IADC member Mary-Christine Sungaila and Alex R. Stevens of Haynes and Boone, LLP.

For information on the IADC's amicus brief program and to view past briefs, please visit the Amicus Briefs page on the IADC website.