Thursday, March 28, 2013

Vasquez v. Greene Motors (Cal. Ct. App. - March 28, 2013)

Even though I teach Civil Procedure rather than Contracts, every year, I talk about unconscionability, particularly with respect to arbitration agreements (which is, after all, a Civ Pro subject). 

I always ask my students to raise their hand if they always read whatever they sign, and have yet to see an appreciable number of hands.  We then read a variety of Supreme Court and other appellate cases, and the message I convey is (1) the courts increasingly enforce arbitration agreements that in prior years would unquestionably have been found unconscionable, and (2) courts are less and less willing to find it "excusable" for consumers to fail to read (and/or understand) what they sign, and increasingly use language that indicates how silly and unreasonable it is for a consumer not to read the entirety of a preprinted form presented to them before they sign it.  Notwithstanding what we all know full well to be the prevailing practice.

That's what I say.  Here's additional proof.

It's a classic contemporary arbitration holding.  In terms of attitude, form and substance alike.  The Court of Appeal reverses the denial of a motion to compel arbitration.

It's contemporary arbitration jurisprudence in a nutshell.