(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this medical malpractice/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
Here, the agreement contains two illegal provisions, the unlawful unilateral provision that gives Defendant Black the right to a jury trial to collect fees from his patients, and the unlawful cost splitting provision. These two provisions are central to the purpose of the contract, not collateral to it. Therefore, these provisions cannot be severed and the contract should not be enforced. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
There are two reasons for severing or restricting illegal terms. The first is to prevent parties from gaining undeserved benefit or detriment. Second, the doctrine of severance attempts to conserve a contractual relationship if to do so would not be to condone an illegal scheme. The overarching inquiry is whether the interests of justice would be served by severance. Armendariz, supra, 24 Cal. 4th 124. Here, as in Armendariz, the Agreement has more than one defect indicating a systemic effort to impose arbitration as an inferior forum that works to serve the interest of Defendant Black and gives him an advantage. Armendariz, supra, 24 Cal. 4th 124.
Additionally, the court distinguishes Armendariz, where the arbitration agreement was deemed unenforceable, from Saika v. Gold (1996) 49 Cal. App. 4th 1074 and Benyon v. Garden Grove Medical Group (1980) 100 Cal. App. 3d 698, where in both cases one-sided provisions in the physician-patient arbitration agreement were severed.
The court stated that in Saika and Benyon, the one-sidedness in these cases was limited to one provision that addressed the rights of the parties after the arbitration award was made, not a provision affecting the scope of the arbitration. Armendariz, supra, 24 Cal. 4th 127. (See Part 10 of 10.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.