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The Sixth Circuit Recently Ruled, No Signature Required for Arbitration

Posted by Eric Kingsley | Nov 01, 2013 | 0 Comments

In a further erosion of the right to trial by jury, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found that signatures are not required to enforce the right to arbitration.  Cecilia Tillman worked at Macy's for many years.  In 2006, Macy's decided to roll out an arbitration program to its employees.  Macy's sought to accomplish this with what is commonly referred to as negative consent.  In other works you had to out-out in order to be excluded from arbitration.  If you did nothing you were included.  Ms. Tillman claimed that she had not received any the paperwork relating to the arbitration but the 6th Circuit was unconvinced.

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“Tillman's conduct following the communication of the offer objectively suggests that she accepted the arbitration agreement by continuing her employment without returning an opt-out form. This performance mirrors that called for in the offer, and ‘[t]he manifestation of mutual assent may be made wholly or partly by . . . acts or conduct.'”

It is thus vitally important to insure that not only must clients beware of what documents they signed but what documents were mailed to them where a response or exclusion were required.  The take away here for employees, don't provide your home address especially in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.  The opinion is here.

About the Author

Eric Kingsley

In practice since 1996, attorney and firm co-founder Eric B. Kingsley has litigated complex cases and authored numerous appellate briefs in both state and federal court on behalf of the California law firm of Kingsley & Kingsley, including over 150 class actions. Mr. Kingsley concentrates his pra...

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