The Third Circuit held today, 6-4, that courts must decide whether to enforce a class ban in arbitration clauses. Courts may not defer the question to arbitrators because, the majority ruled, the unconscionability or not of a contractual bar to class treatment raises an issue of "arbitrability", which the federal Arbitration Act leaves to judges. Puleo v. Chase Bank USA, N.A., No. 08-3837 (3d Cir. May 10, 2010).
Blawgletter wonders what impact the decision might have — in light of the fact that the Supreme Court just concluded that the Arbitration Act prohibits class arbitration unless the clause by its terms permits it. We suppose that, theoretically, a class arbitration ban could violate state unconscionability principles, but then what? If the clause, after striking the ban, says nothing about class treatment, you can't get it anyway.
But perhaps we've missed something. Although we doubt it.