(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.)
As noted above, to obtain the benefits of C.C.P. Section 1295 and avoid challenges based on being a contract of adhesion and/or unconscionable, Defendant Black was required to comply with subdivision (e) which provides: Such a contract is not a contract of adhesion, nor unconscionable nor otherwise improper, where it complies with subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) of this section. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
Defendant Black’s arbitration agreement fails to comply with subdivisions (a) and (c).
The unconscionability analysis begins with determining if the contract is one of adhesion. Armendariz v. Foundation Health Psychare Services, Inc., (2000) 24 Cal.4th 113, citing Graham v. Scissor-Tail, Inc, (1981) 28 Cal. 3d 807. An adhesion contract is one in which the drafting party with superior bargaining power gives the subscribing party only the opportunity to adhere to the contract or reject it. Armendariz, supra, 24 Cal, 4th 113, citing Neal v. State Farm Ins. Cos. (1961) 188 Cal. App. 2d 690, 694. These restrictions apply to healthcare providers.
Once a contract is determined to be adhesive, then two judicial limitations are placed on its enforcement. First, the contract will not be enforced if it does not meet the reasonable expectations of the adhering party. Second, even if the reasonable expectations of the adhering party are met, the contract will not be enforced if it is unconscionable. Armendariz. supra, 24 Cal. 4th 113, citing Scissor-Tail.Inc. supra, 28 Cal 3d 807.
Both procedural and substantive unconscionability are required to invalidate an arbitration agreement. Armendariz. supra, 24 Cal. 4th 113; Stirlen v. Supercuts, Inc. (1997) 51 Cal. App. 4th 1519, 1533. Procedural unconscionability focuses on the oppression and the manner in which the agreement was negotiated. Armendariz, supra, citing Kinney v. United HealthCare Services, Inc., (1999) 70 Cal. App. 4th 1322, 1329. Substantive unconscionability focuses on the terms of the agreement and the presence of overly harsh one-sided results. (Id. at p. 1330) The two aspects need not be present in the same degree. Armendariz, supra, Cal. 4th 114.
(See Part 6 of 10.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.