SOX ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements is retroactive
March 01, 2011 by Ross Runkel at LawMemo
Pezza v. Investors Capital (D Mass 03/01/2011):
Pezza sued claiming retaliation in violation of the whistleblower provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. While the employer's motion to compel arbitration was under advisement, Congress enacted the Dodd-Frank Act which enacted a bar to pre-dispute arbitration agreements for whistleblower claims brought under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
The US District Court for Massachusetts held that the Dodd-Frank ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements is retroactive, and denied the employer's motion to compel arbitration.
Although the Act says nothing about retroactive application, leaving the question "far from clear," the court reasoned that the ban was in the nature of a procedural provision rather than one dealing with substantive rights.
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