Max Kutner, 21 April 2021
Wells Fargo can challenge in the Third Circuit part of an order directing it to produce contact information for thousands of workers involved in a proposed collective and class action alleging off-the-clock overtime, a Pennsylvania federal judge has ruled.
In a memorandum order Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Colville agreed to certify Wells Fargo’s interlocutory appeal of a March 15 conditional certification order, which required the bank to provide contact information for sending notice to thousands of home mortgage consultants with arbitration agreements. The judge said a question of law existed about whether the arbitration issue should come up during conditional certification or at a later stage.
“There is legal uncertainty about whether the enforceability of an arbitration agreement involves a ‘merits based’ inquiry,” Judge Colville said in the order. “Certification of the interlocutory appeal will streamline the case, advance the course of the litigation, and avoid confusion which would arise once arbitration [home mortgage consultants] receive their notices.”
An answer from the Third Circuit would also make clearer to other district courts in the circuit how to handle such situations, the judge added.