Unconscionable Contracts

News & Analysis as of

California Legislature Targets Employment Arbitration Agreements

It is no secret that California is no friend to arbitration agreements. As the United States Supreme Court noted in its 2011 opinion in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, “California’s courts have been more likely to hold...more

Summary of California Appellate Decisions -August 2015

Insurance; Duty To Defend; Insurance Coverage; Intentional Acts; Sexual Misconduct - Gonzalez v. Fire Insurance Exchange (2015) 234 Cal.App.4th 1220, 184 Cal.Rptr.3d 394 (WL 960927) - Facts: This is an...more

TN COA: Arbitrators Decide Scope and Unconscionability

The Tennessee Court of Appeals at Jackson recently enforced a NY choice-of-law provision against an arbitration challenge, holding that courts determine contract-formation issues, while arbitrators decide the scope and...more

California Supreme Court Upholds Consumer Contract Arbitration Provision Under California’s Unconscionability Framework

In a dispute over the purchase of a car, the purchaser filed a class action in California against the car dealer, and the dealer moved to compel arbitration. The dealer invoked the arbitration agreement contained in the...more

Man Bites Dog: California Supreme Court unanimously rejects unconscionability challenge to consumer arbitration provision

The California Supreme Court has a reputation for hostility to arbitration, especially in the consumers and employment context. Much of the arbitration docket of the United States Supreme Court over the past 30 years has...more

California Supreme Court Upholds Arbitration Clause, but Unconscionability Remains a Defense to Arbitration

The California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Company, LLC, on August 3, 2015, reversing a finding by the Court of Appeal that an arbitration provision was unconscionable...more

Surprisingly Good News: California Supreme Court Upholds Arbitration Agreement

Many companies doing business in California have had difficulty persuading California courts to enforce their arbitration agreements. Those courts often have used the doctrine of unconscionability to deny enforcement on the...more

The California Supreme Court Holds Consumer Class Action Waivers In Arbitration Provisions Are Enforceable Under Federal Law

On August 3, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited arbitration decision in Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Co., LLC, No. B228027. The Court held that the arbitration provision found in a standard form auto...more

California Supreme Court Issues Ruling in Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Company, LLC

On August 3, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued a long-awaited opinion that provides further clarity on the standard of unconscionability needed to invalidate an arbitration agreement. The court determined that its...more

Should You Cut The Delegation Clause From Your Arbitration Agreement?

A recent report showed that less than half of arbitration agreements in the consumer financial arena include delegation clauses in their arbitration agreements. Two recent decisions from state high courts suggest that is a...more

Hawaii Finds Arbitration Agreement With “Severe Limitations on Discovery” is Unconscionable

Hawaii issued a bold arbitration decision this month. It applied its state contract law to conclude that the parties did not form a clear arbitration agreement, but even if they did, it was unconscionable because it...more

Missouri Supreme Court “Calls an Audible,” Upholds Arbitration Agreement

In recent years, Missouri courts have seemed reluctant to enforce arbitration agreements entered into between employers and employees. But in a recent decision, the Missouri Supreme Court reversed that trend and compelled...more

Judge Orders State’s Termination of Provider’s Medicaid Contract To Be REVERSED, Despite the Unilateral Termination!!

Imagine that the State of North Carolina knocks on your office door and informs you that you are no longer allowed to accept Medicaid and/or Medicare reimbursement rates. That for whatever reason, you are no longer allowed to...more

California court Refuses To Enforce Bylaw Amendment Compelling Arbitration By the Members Of The Corporation

There have been several recent Delaware court decisions and much commentary regarding the enforceability of bylaw provisions that establish rules governing stockholder litigation, including fee-shifting provisions and forum...more

Enforcing Your Arbitration Agreement Just Became a Great Deal Easier

Courts regularly praise private arbitration as a means of affording flexibility to the parties, reducing costs and time, and lessening the burden on the judicial system. In some cases though, arbitration clauses can present a...more

The First Rule of Bieber Parties: Can You Talk About Bieber Parties?

Although 2014 has thrust Justin Bieber into the legal spotlight for a variety of reasons, the most interesting Beiber-related legal question surrounds a party he threw at his California home in November, 2013. While the party...more

Tenth Circuit Holds FAA Preempts New Mexico Unconscionability Law

New Mexico law considers arbitration provisions that apply primarily to the claims that one party to the contract is likely to bring to be unconscionable and unenforceable. This law, the Tenth Circuit holds, is preempted by...more

Tenth Circuit Holds FAA Preempts New Mexico Law On Unenforceability Of Unconscionable Arbitration Provisions

On January 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts New Mexico common law that a compulsory-arbitration provision in a contract may be unconscionable and...more

Which Arbitration Agreement Clauses Will Texas Courts Find Unconscionable?

In recent years, courts have consistently supported employers’ use of arbitration agreements in employment settings. During the last few terms, the Supreme Court of the United States has issued several decisions, such as...more

Choice of Law in Contractual Fraud Claims: New York vs. Delaware

The core elements of a prima facie case of contract-related fraud are generally consistent from state to state. But within the basic elements of this cause of action are distinctions between states that become particularly...more

How to Draft Enforceable Class Action and Other Employer-Friendly Waivers

Porreca v. The Rose Group was a class action lawsuit brought by Carly Porreca and Charles Walton, alleging that their employer, Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar, had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. After Porreca...more

A Decision to Arbitrate in the Mountain State: The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Rejects Retroactive Application of the...

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals recently issued a decision addressing mandatory arbitration in connection with a residential mortgage loan that will impact litigants in the Mountain State and potentially influence...more

Court Holds Arbitration Agreement Requiring Employee to Pay Half of Arbitration Costs is Unconscionable

In Chavarria v. Ralphs Grocery Co., No. 11-56673, 2013 WL 5779332 (9th Cir. Oct. 28, 2013), the plaintiff, a former deli clerk, brought a class action against Ralphs for various alleged wage and hour violations of the...more

The California Supreme Court Curtails Concepcion’s Protection of Arbitration Agreements

In AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, the United States Supreme Court analyzed whether a court could refuse to enforce an arbitration agreement because the terms are “unconscionable,” meaning that one party did not have meaningful...more

Clean-Up in Aisle 9: Ninth Circuit Finds Ralphs Grocery Company’s Arbitration Policy Unconscionable Under State Law Not Preempted...

As we have reported on several occasions, a string of United States Supreme Court cases over the past few years has strengthened the use and applicability of arbitration provisions in contracts. For example, in AT&T Mobility...more

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