Preston v. Ferrer

552 U.S. 346, 128 S. Ct. 978, 169 L. Ed. 2d 917 (2008)

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Preston v. Ferrer

United States Supreme Court
552 U.S. 346, 128 S. Ct. 978, 169 L. Ed. 2d 917 (2008)

  • Written by Alexander Hager-DeMyer, JD

Facts

Alex Ferrer (plaintiff) was a former Florida trial-court judge who appeared as a judge on a Fox television program. Arnold Preston (defendant) was a California attorney for entertainment professionals. Ferrer contracted Preston for his services, and the contract included an agreement to arbitrate any disputes related to the contract. Preston invoked the arbitration agreement to resolve a fee dispute. Ferrer petitioned the California labor commissioner to stay the arbitration, claiming that the contract was invalid and unenforceable under the California Talent Agencies Act (TAA). Ferrer alleged that Preston operated as an unlicensed talent agent as required by the TAA, voiding the contract. The commissioner’s hearing officer denied Ferrer’s motion to stay the arbitration, finding that the commissioner did not have the authority to order a stay. Ferrer filed suit in state court, seeking a declaration that the dispute was not subject to arbitration and petitioning for an injunction to stop Preston from pursuing arbitration. Preston filed a motion with the court to compel arbitration, but the court denied the motion. The state court issued Ferrer’s injunction, which prohibited Preston from arbitrating the dispute unless the commissioner acknowledged that she did not have jurisdiction. Preston appealed the decision. The California appellate court affirmed the ruling, finding that the labor commissioner had exclusive jurisdiction over the dispute under the TAA. The California Supreme Court denied Preston’s next appeal, but the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ginsburg, J.)

Dissent (Thomas, J.)

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