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DECISIONS Young’s e-mail address is gyoungnlj.com. a texas trial court did not have authority to refer to arbitration class certification issues arising in a fee dispute between personal injury lawyer John O’Quinn and some of the breast implant litigation plaintiffs he had once represented, Texas’ 12th Court of Appeals ruled on June 25. In re John M. O’Quinn P.C., No. 12-02-00352-CV. In the implant litigation, O’Quinn deducted 1.5% of the total awarded to all settling plaintiffs to cover expenses common to all class members. The women said the deduction wasn’t included in the original fee agreement and sued. The trial court referred the issue to arbitration, governed by the Federal Arbitration Act and the rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA). On reconsideration, the court entered a new order referring the case to arbitration and granting the arbitrator authority to determine whether the plaintiffs could be certified as a class. O’Quinn petitioned the appeals court for a writ of mandamus. Granting the writ, the appeals court said that the AAA has no procedure for certifying a class and that class arbitration cannot proceed until a class has been certified. Because only a trial court had authority to certify the class, the trial court abused its discretion when it ceded that authority to the arbitrator. In a footnote, the court stressed that its holding was limited to the facts of this case, and that there isn’t a general rule applying to class certification and arbitration.

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