Opening Brief Filed in Murphy Oil

Published June 12th, 2017 -  - 06.12.1721


This post is part of OnLabor’s continuing analysis of National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA.

On Friday, counsel for the petitioners in National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA and Epic Systems Corporation v. Jacob Lewis filed their opening merits brief before the Supreme Court.

Petitioners argue that “[i]n cases involving the interaction of two federal statutes, the first objective is to harmonize the competing provisions, if at all possible,” and the Federal Arbitration Act and National Labor Relations Act “can indeed co-exist.”  The petitioners contend that:

“The FAA unambiguously mandates enforcement of class waivers in arbitration agreements, and the NLRA contains no ‘clearly expressed congressional intention to the contrary.’ [citing Morton v. Mancari, 417 U.S. 535, 551 (1974)].  So the Court should do what it has done in prior cases involving the FAA and other federal statutes: construe the other statute in a way that harmonizes it with the FAA.”

This reading of the FAA and NLRA would result in the enforcement of class arbitration waiver provisions.  Petitioners further argue that the National Labor Relations Board’s view that the NLRA contains a “clearly expressed congressional intention to the contrary” is “not entitled to deference under Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984).”

Alternatively, the petitioners maintain that “[e]ven if the two statutes could not be reconciled, the class waivers should still be enforced.”

Again, the full brief is available here.

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