In April 2008, Shedrick Collins completed a job application for Taco Bell that included a declaration to agree to settle any legal disputes with his employer by binding arbitration.
Collins ignored arbitration and filed a federal lawsuit in March inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse and alleged the company cheated him out of $100,597 in earned overtime pay.
The senior quality assurance engineer also called the arbitration terms unenforceable because, in his view, they lopsidedly favored the corporate giant, according to court records.
On July 31, the employee found a partial friend in U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter, who declared in a 13-page ruling that Taco Bell's employment arbitration rules were in part unconscionable for imposing a one-sided demand on a complaining employee to submit to an internal review process but made no similar burden on company officials.
So would Collins get his shot to present his case to a jury?
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Carter, one of California's most seasoned judges, used his judiciary powers to strike what he considered the offensive clause in Taco Bell's employment application, deemed the remaining contract fair, ordered arbitration and stayed the lawsuit.