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Keith Ellison U.S. Judge Keith P. Ellison of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston. Credit: John Everett

A Houston federal judge, admonished by an appeals court for appearing to criticize arbitration, has fired back with his own rebuke, calling the panel’s characterization of his courtroom remarks “misleading and inaccurate.”

U.S District Court Judge Keith Ellison of the Southern District of Texas delivered the reproach Monday in an order in a labor case involving JPMorgan Chase & Co. call-center workers who alleged they’ve been shorted on wages. A U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit panel, led by Judge Jerry Smith, said last month Ellison was wrong to say JPMorgan was required to send collective action notices to employees who had signed arbitration agreements.

Smith, in a footnote, said Ellison “obviously has a “jaundiced view” of arbitration, including the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that said employment agreements can prohibit workers from forming class actions. Smith warned Ellison to “avoid even the appearance of judicial endorsement on the merits of the action.”

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